March 27, 2020
Tenure policy adjustment
As you all are aware, the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has created circumstances that will significantly disrupt the Institute’s teaching and research environment. This disruption will inevitably affect faculty progress toward professional and scholarly achievement, and the impact will be especially critical for faculty working toward promotion and tenure.
Therefore, effective immediately, all junior (non-tenured) faculty will automatically be granted a one-year tenure clock extension as a result of the disruption associated with Covid-19. A faculty candidate for promotion or tenure may opt-out of this extension after discussion with their department head and dean. As in all tenure cases, a tenure review can take place prior to the end of the probationary period and that possibility should be assessed annually.
This one-year extension also implies an extension of the maximum terms allowable at the ranks of assistant professor and of associate professor without tenure. The combined terms of appointment in these two ranks thus may not exceed the nine years that now will constitute the pre-tenure period under this new policy. Again, no faculty member is obliged to accept the extension, and may choose to follow the original review schedule (as described in Policies and Procedures 3.1, Search, Appointment, and Promotion Policy for Faculty).
Note: This policy pertains to junior faculty whose tenure cases have not already been formally considered by their departments and schools within the 2019-2020 review cycle. Those junior faculty whose tenure cases are currently undergoing the normal review process are not affected by this new policy.
This new policy will pertain to all current junior faculty (except as noted above). I am consulting with the deans about faculty who will be joining us over the next several months to assess how the present circumstances will impact their academic progress.
I am confident that this new policy will help our junior faculty to achieve their professional goals at MIT and to successfully manage the unusual circumstances we all are experiencing.
Martin A. Schmidt