Extension of Probationary Period
Tenure-track faculty members who determine that certain personal circumstances may impede progress toward consideration for the award of tenure can apply for an extension of their probationary period.
In practice, the probationary period consists of the first five years in residence as Assistant Professor. Since a faculty member can hold the rank of Assistant Professor for a maximum of seven years, this gives two years (if necessary) to complete the process. Generally, in the spring semester of their fifth year the department will decide if the faculty member should be considered for tenure. If so, the department will begin the process of assembling a dossier and requesting outside letters of recommendation.
Personal circumstances may include: (1) childbirth or (2) status of faculty member as caregiver of a family member who is a preschool child, a disabled person, or an elderly person.
Extension of the probationary period should be requested and justified in writing by the tenure candidate. The tenure candidate should write a letter to their department chair explaining the circumstances (e.g. birth of a child, care of a ill family member, COVID-19-related disruptions, etc.). If the chair deems the request to be in the best interest of the university, she will forward it to the dean who, in turn, forwards the request to the Office of the Provost – (see https://provost.utexas.edu/the-office/faculty-affairs/probationary-period-extensions-for-tenure-track-faculty/#1). The request should be made during or in advance of the academic year or semester in which the extension is justified. The request should not be made later than the spring semester (May 31) of the fifth year in rank as Assistant Professor.
In all instances other than childbirth, extension of the probationary period is never automatic ( see http://www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/h0311.html ). The faculty member is responsible for providing appropriate documentation regarding personal circumstances that have led to this request for extension of the probationary period. The request should be submitted to the department chair (download form for this purpose here) (54kb pdf) during or in advance of the academic year or semester in which the extension is justified, but no later than the spring semester (May 31) of the fifth year in rank as Assistant Professor. The Provost will decide whether to grant the extension based upon review of the faculty member’s written request and the recommendation of the budget council, department chair and dean.
Extensions are for one academic year. In exceptional circumstances, a second year’s extension may be granted.