Interruption of the Probationary Period (Tenure Clock)
To describe the types of leave and the circumstances which may lead to an approved interruption of the probationary period (tenure clock) and the procedures for seeking an extension of the probationary period
Untenured faculty members in tenure-track appointments who have not yet entered the mandatory review year
Occasionally during the probationary period, personal circumstances may prevent a faculty member from carrying out a significant portion of the responsibilities of the tenure-earning position. In such cases, the faculty member may have difficulty maintaining the necessary progress toward meeting the required academic responsibilities for the award of tenure within the specified period. In some unusual situations, the personal circumstances may qualify the faculty member for certain types of leave or reduction in appointment that extend the tenure clock. The types of leave and circumstances which provide a basis for an application and approval of an extension of the probationary period for one year include: (1) family medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or (2) birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child. Other circumstances include (3) non-scholarly leave without pay, (4) a part-time appointment, (5) leave due to accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and (6) other unexpected special and extenuating circumstances that justify an extension of the tenure clock for a maximum of one year. Each of these options and the procedures for pursuing them are described below. The effect of each of these options is to provide the faculty member a period of time that is not included in the probationary period to address the specific circumstances.
None of these options apply during the mandatory review year. No more than two extensions of the tenure clock may be granted to a faculty member for any reason. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to guarantee reappointment of an untenured faculty member. No promotion and tenure committee at any review level will discriminate against faculty members who are granted extensions of the tenure clock under this policy.
- Family and Medical Leave Act
Policy: Board of Regents policy on Family and Medical Leave permits institutions to adopt a policy allowing a faculty member holding a tenure-earning position who has taken family medical leave to request an additional year to work toward tenure. The University of Kansas Lawrence campus policy is as follows: Untenured faculty members for whom Human Resources (HR) has designated full-time family medical leave for three consecutive months during the academic year prior to their mandatory review year will be granted an extension of the tenure clock for one year by following the procedure below.
Family medical leave may be designated for a number of reasons, including birth, placement of a child through foster care or adoption, serious illness or injury of the employee, and serious illness or injury of an employee’s family member (spouse, parent, or son or daughter under the age of 18). In cases of birth, adoption, or foster placement that occur prior to the mandatory tenure review year, untenured faculty members who received a full-time FMLA designation for less than three consecutive months or a part-time FMLA designation are eligible for and will be granted a one-year extension of the tenure clock in accordance with section 2 below.
Procedure: The designation of Family and Medical Leave by the Department of Human Resources will not automatically extend the tenure clock. A separate request must be submitted to the Office of the Provost. The request for extension must include the specific dates designated as family medical leave, including the dates during which sick leave was used and the dates of full-time leave without pay, and must be accompanied by a copy of the FMLA Designation Notice provided by HR. The request to extend the tenure clock must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Provost within six months of the completion of the leave and prior to May 1 of the year preceding the mandatory review year. The request must also include the acknowledgment of the chair and dean.
- Interruption of the Tenure Clock due to Birth, Foster Placement, or Adoption
Policy: An untenured faculty member who becomes a parent through birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child under the age of 5 prior to May 1st of the year preceding the mandatory tenure review year shall be granted a one-year delay of the tenure review. If the delay occurs prior to the progress toward tenure review year, that review will also be extended by one year.
This policy applies to parents of any gender. If both parents are University employees, both may delay the tenure review for the same child.
The ability to interrupt the tenure clock does not apply during the mandatory review year, when the tenure process has presumably begun. Therefore, births or adoptions that take place after May 1st of the year preceding the mandatory review year will not be considered cause for interruption in one’s tenure clock.
Procedure: An eligible faculty member can invoke the one-year delay by notifying the department chair. Notification must occur within 90 days of the birth, foster placement, or adoption. The chair of the faculty member’s department shall notify the Dean of the College or School that the tenure clock interruption has been invoked, and the Dean will notify the Vice Provost for Faculty Development. The Vice Provost will record the change in the mandatory review date and, if applicable, the progress toward tenure review date, in university records and send a letter to the faculty member, chair, and dean acknowledging the change.
Eligible faculty members who have invoked the one-year delay of the tenure review because of birth, foster placement, or adoption will have Family and Medical Leave designated by the Department of Human Resources in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave policy and Family and Medical Leave procedures. The procedure described in this section 2 for stopping the tenure clock due to birth and adoption does not constitute automatic designation of family medical leave by HR.
Eligible faculty members retain the right to opt out of this interruption policy by choosing not to notify their department chair or dean that they wish to have an extension of the probationary period under the terms of this policy. For those faculty members, the mandatory tenure review date specified in the appointment letter will remain in effect.
- Non-Scholarly Leave without Pay
Policy: The University may approve a faculty member’s request for a leave of absence without pay when such leave is considered in the best interest of the institution. When the leave occurs prior to the mandatory review year, an untenured faculty member will be granted an extension of the tenure clock for one year. A leave granted to enable the faculty member to engage in activities distinct from the faculty member's academic responsibilities at the University of Kansas is designated as non-scholarly leave. Leaves without pay granted to pursue research or teaching activities in another location related to academic responsibilities at the University of Kansas are scholarly leaves rather than non-scholarly leaves. Such leaves are not covered by this policy.
Procedure: Applications for non-scholarly leave are to be submitted in writing to the Office of the Provost and must include the endorsements of the appropriate chairperson and dean.
- Part-time Appointments
Policy: Part-time service to the University does not count toward tenure. Reductions in appointments require prior approval by the Provost. Such reductions may be granted to untenured faculty members when it is in the best interest of the University. Appointment reductions remove the untenured faculty member from the tenure-earning position. An untenured faculty member previously in a tenure-earning position who enters into a reduced appointment may automatically reenter the tenure-earning position if the faculty member returns to full-time status within one academic or calendar year of the beginning of the reduced appointment. An untenured faculty member who does not return to full-time status within one year will be issued a terminal appointment. An untenured faculty member issued a terminal appointment for this reason may be rehired into a tenure-earning position only through an open faculty search process.
If a reduced appointment occurs prior to the mandatory review year, the period of time on the reduced appointment (not to exceed one year) will not be counted toward the probationary period when the individual reenters full-time service and the tenure-track position.
Procedure: A request for reduction in the appointment must be approved by the Provost. The request must document a significant reduction in commitment of time and duties to be performed. Accordingly, approval will not be given for a reduction of less than .25 FTE. The request should provide the rationale for the reduction and should identify the specific responsibilities to be performed during the period of reduced appointment. The endorsement of the department chair and dean that such part-time service is in the best interest of the University must accompany the request that is forwarded to the Office of the Provost.
- Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Policy: Our goal is to endorse a campus climate that will sustain attention to the Americans with Disability Act in the spirit in which it was designed and provide the KU campus community a climate of inclusiveness.
Procedure: The University of Kansas makes every effort to assist applicants and employees who request a reasonable accommodation. Any individual who has been diagnosed with, has a history of medical care for, or is known to have a qualified disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any point. A qualified individual with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
The University is required to assist with an accommodation for the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it will not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. The University is not required to lower quality or production standards to make accommodations, and the University is not required to provide personal items such as glasses or hearing aids. Each accommodation request is considered on a case-by-case basis.
Policy: Under other unexpected special and extenuating circumstances, prior to the sixth year of service (or the mandatory review year if it precedes the sixth year of service), Board of Regents policy permits the extension of the tenure clock for a maximum of one year.
Procedure: A request for such an extension may be granted by the Provost upon written request of the faculty member with the written endorsements of the department chair and dean. Requests must be received by the Provost no later than January 1 of the year preceding the mandatory review year.
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
University of Kansas
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Strong Hall, Room 145
Lawrence, KS 66045
The Kansas Board of Regents Policy on Tenure provides that each Regents institution may develop operating regulations to comply with the general policy established by the Board. This policy sets forth the University of Kansas, Lawrence policies and procedures that will be used in granting extensions of the tenure clock that are permitted by Board policy. See “Review/Change History” section below for further information.
Disability - In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102): Disability means, with respect to an individual: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual; a record of having such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Such impairments could include but are not limited to; amputation, schizophrenia, anxiety, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Intellectual/ Developmental Disorders, blindness, or hearing loss.
Physical Impairment - physiological condition, anatomic loss, etc. that affects one or more of our body systems i.e. musculoskeletal, neurological, digestive.
Mental Impairment - mental or psychological condition – i.e. intellectual disability/development disability, learning disabilities, emotional and mental health.
Illness - an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider. Reasons for leave may include mental health related treatment, symptoms, or diagnoses.
Condition - physical, mental, or medical disease, illness, or injury. Any condition – e.g., physiologic, mental, or psychologic conditions or disorders including but not limited to: orthopedic, visual, speech, or hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, intellectual/ developmental disabilities, emotional or mental health disorders, HIV, drug addiction, or alcoholism.
12/14/2022: Updated contact section.
04/30/2021: Updated policy to include section on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) information and mental health terminology.
05/30/2017: Fixed broken links.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
04/06/2016: Added keywords.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
12/17/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing); updates to links after Human Resource Management and Kansas Board of Regents website updates.
11/25/2014: Added keywords to improve searches for this policy.
10/30/2014: Fixed broken links and policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
02/16/2010: Updates approved by the Provost and by the Chancellor.
02/08/2010: Reviewed and updated by the Office of the Provost in consultation with Human Resources and University Governance.
03/27/2006: Section on Interruption of the Tenure Clock due to Birth or Adoption added effective March 27, 2006, to reflect a policy change adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents on March 20, 2006.
10/1997: Updated to reflect a change in Section b.2 of the Board of Regents policy on tenure.
02/27/1997: Approved by Faculty Council.
01/23/1997: Approved by the Chancellor.