University policy and procedure governing modification of the faculty probationary period | Kent State University

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University policy and procedure governing modification of the faculty probationary period

  1. Policy statement. The probationary period for faculty members who hold a full-time tenure-track appointment at Kent state university is governed by policies on reappointment and tenure developed by the faculty senate professional standards committee and approved by the faculty senate and board of trustees. From time to time, personal and/or family circumstances arise such that a probationary faculty member may need to request that their probationary period be extended. Granting such an extension of the probationary period has traditionally been called "tolling" or "stopping the tenure clock."
  2. Eligibility (i.e., When tolling is permitted).
    1. Faculty members shall be eligible to extend the probationary period leading to a mandatory tenure review, upon request, if:
      1. The faculty (whether male or female) is a caregiver of a newborn, newly adopted or foster child, including a newborn, newly adopted or foster child of a domestic partner.
      2. The faculty member develops a serious illness or disability or a member of his or her immediate family (as defined in the university’s sick leave policy) becomes seriously ill or disabled.
    2. Faculty members may be eligible to extend the probationary period leading to a mandatory tenure review, upon request, if the faculty member has other personal and/or family circumstances of a compelling nature that arise of or that occupy a substantial period of time during the pre-tenure years.
  3. Implementation: The same professional standards and expectations shall apply to tenure candidates who have had an extension of their probationary period, as would apply to candidates who have not. Professional accomplishments realized during the extended probationary period shall be considered part of a candidate’s record when he or she stands for tenure and/or promotion. However, a candidate who has had his or her probationary period extended by one or two years under this policy shall not be expected to meet higher or more rigorous standards than the standards applied to individuals who have followed the normal probationary period.
    1. Faculty leave. Decisions about the extension of the probationary period shall occur independent of a faculty member's leave status. Faculty members may or may not have a full or partial leave during this period. Separate university policies and procedures exist for securing a leave (e.g. sick leave, leave of absence without pay, etc.) if one is appropriate.
    2. Length of tolling: An extension of the probationary period shall be limited for one year for each qualifying event (or child), up to a total of two years. An extension, if approved, shall be only for increments of one year. The maximum extension of the probationary period will be no more than two full years.
    3. Requesting tolling. Any request to extend the mandatory probationary period must be reviewed and approved on or before March first of the spring semester prior to the time that the candidate for tenure submits his or her tenure review file.
    4. Dissemination of the policy. A copy of this policy shall be provided to all those standing for reappointment and all new faculty by the unit administrator during the first week of the academic year.
    5. Reappointment: A faculty member who has taken a tolling year shall not submit a reappointment file during the tolling year. The following year, the candidate will submit a reappointment letter detailing their accomplishments during the prior two years. Reviewers are reminded that irrespective of the two-year time-frame (or in the case of two years of tolling, the three-year time frame), the productivity of a faculty member who has tolled is not expected to exceed what is expected of a probationary faculty member in a single year.
  4. Procedures. A probationary faculty member may initiate a request for an extension of his/her probationary period by the following procedures:
    1. On the Kent campus, the faculty member shall write a letter to the department chair or school director requesting permission to extend the probationary period and citing the reasons consistent with paragraph (B) of this policy why such action is warranted. On the regional campuses, the faculty member shall write a letter to the regional campus dean requesting permission to extend the probationary period and citing the reasons consistent with paragraph (B) of thius policy why such action is warranted.
    2. On the Kent campus, the department chair or school director shall consult with the faculty advisory committee (FAC) or school advisory committee (SAC). The FAC or SAC will make an advisory recommendation to the unit administrator. The unit administrator will then make a recommendation to the college dean. If the request is approved, he or she will forward it to the dean's office for further review. On the regional campuses, the campus dean shall consult with the faculty council. The faculty council shall make an advisory recommendation to the campus dean. The campus dean will then make a recommendation to the chief academic officer of the regional campuses. If the request is approved, he or she will forward it to the chief academic officer of the regional campus campuses for further review.
    3. The college dean shall consult with the college advisory committee (CAC). The chief academic officer of the regional campuses shall consult with the regional campus faculty advisory committee (RCFAC). The CAC or RCFAC will make an advisory recommendation to the appropriate administrator. The administrator shall then make a recommendation to the provost.
    4. If the request is approved by the provost, the office of faculty affairs shall notify the faculty member in writing of the new date for the mandatory tenure review and that existing professional standards, as required by paragraph (C) of this policy will govern the future tenure decision. A copy of this letter shall be included in the candidate’s tenure file. During any year which is tolled, the faculty member does not submit a reappointment file. When the faculty member is next reviewed for reappointment, all of the faculty member’s achievements, including those completed during the period subject to tolling, shall be included in the faculty member’s file.
    5. External reviewers for tenure and promotion evaluation. In the letter to the candidate’s external reviewers, the unit administrator shall explain that the candidate was granted an additional year or two years under the university tolling policy. The letter shall include the following statement: “The tolling policy provides for additional years toward tenure for a variety of circumstances, but the policy stipulates that the presence of an extended probationary period shall not be interpreted to increase the expectations for productivity normally placed upon a probationary faculty member.”
  5. Appeals
    1. If the request is not approved by the unit administrator or regional campus dean, the reasons for rejection will be set forth in writing and provided to the faculty member in question. If a Kent campus faculty member’s request is not approved, he or she will have the right to appeal to the college dean in colleges with departments or schools, or to the provost in colleges without departments and schools and university libraries, as applicable. If a regional campus faculty member’s request is not approved, he or she will have the right to appeal to the chief academic officer of the regional campuses. Such an appeal must be initiated in writing within two weeks of the receipt of the negative decision by the unit administrator or campus dean. The appeal should state clearly why the faculty member disagrees with the decision. Appeals should be heard in a timely manner.
    2. If the faculty member’s request is not approved by either the college dean or the chief academic officer of the regional campuses, the reasons for the rejection will be set forth in writing and provided to the faculty member. The faculty member will have the right to appeal to the provost. Such an appeal must be initiated in writing within two weeks of the receipt of the negative decision by the college dean or chief academic officer of the regional campuses, whichever is appropriate. The appeal should state clearly why the faculty member disagrees with the decision. Appeals should be heard in a timely manner.
Policy Effective Date: 
Jul. 01, 2018
Policy Prior Effective Dates: 
2/4/2009, 3/1/2015