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COVID-19 Extension of the Tenure Clock

In late March 2020, the Office of the Provost provided an automatic extension of the tenure clock for faculty members whose research productivity may have been impacted by the sudden switch to remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible tenure-track faculty members were able to opt-out of the automatic extension if they did not want to move back their critical year. The original parameters for that extension are outlined below.

Since then, faculty members have continued to express the difficulties of balancing their work productivity with their personal demands as the pandemic continues (i.e. dependent care, access to research facilities). All eligible tenure-track faculty members are reminded that they can request an extension of the tenure-clock using the existing Request for Extension of the Tenure Clock form on the WVU Faculty website and describe your reason in the accompanying email.

The option to request an extension of the tenure clock remains in place for all eligible faculty. Links to specific details and the request form are below:


March 2020 Automatic Extension the Tenure Clock

BOG Faculty Rule 4.5 allows an extension of the tenure clock in some personal and/or professional circumstances. In rare professional circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, tenure-track faculty members will automatically be given an extension of their tenure clock. 

To streamline this process, the Office of the Provost granted automatic one-year extensions to the tenure clock for all tenure-track faculty members based on " exceptional professional circumstances." This extension excludes those faculty members who have already submitted their applications for promotion and tenure.


Opting Out

Eligible tenure-track faculty members must opt out using the form below if they do not want to move back their critical year. Faculty members on a 12-month contract must opt out of the tenure clock extension by June 30, 2020. Faculty members on a 9-month contract must opt-out by August 13, 2020.


Terms and Conditions of the Tenure Clock Extension

The extension of the tenure clock for professional circumstances can normally be used only once, although in the current climate a faculty member may be granted two extensions of the tenure clock for professional circumstances when one is specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The maximum tenure-track period extension for any combination of personal and/or professional circumstances is three (3) years, and this will continue to be enforced.  If a faculty member has already extended their tenure clock twice, the faculty member would still be eligible for the COVID-19 automatic tenure-clock extension.  However, faculty members who have already extended their tenure clock three times are not eligible.  Furthermore, under no circumstances may the critical year be extended beyond the ninth full-time year in a tenure-track status.

A faculty member who exercises the COVID-19 automatic tenure-clock extension will be reviewed for tenure under the academic standards in effect at the time of review.  

An extension of the tenure-track period in no way limits the right of the University to terminate a tenure-track appointment prior to a faculty member’s critical year, should circumstances warrant such action.  

Consistent with current processes, a faculty member may choose to revoke an approved extension of the tenure clock and reinstate their original critical year.  Furthermore, a faculty member will still have the option to move their critical year forward in the fourth year of their employment.