By Eva Surovell

Tenure-track faculty who meet eligibility criteria will automatically be granted an additional probationary year, according to University of Virginia Provost Liz Magill’s recent memo. While the Faculty Senate and the American Association of University Professors at the University support this decision, both said that they would like to see this extension apply to non-tenure-track professors as well. Currently, the change will only apply to tenure-track faculty whose contracts prescribe a start date before April 1, 2020 and were scheduled to undergo tenure review in the 2020-21 academic year or later.

Tenure-track faculty — professors who are currently in a hiring stream at the end of which they will be considered tenured faculty — hired after April 1, 2020 and any other tenure-track faculty who require extra tenure clock extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic must request an extension. In contrast to other faculty, tenured professors can expect ongoing employment from the university — typically, the tenure track is about five to seven years, at the end of which there is a tenure review, which examines a professor’s research, teaching and service to the community. When a tenure-track professor passes their tenure review, they are considered tenured.

“The university acknowledges that junior faculty are placed in a particularly precarious position due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Maite Brandt-Pearce, vice provost for faculty affairs. “Tenure-seeking faculty have ambitious standards to meet during the first few years here, and the pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible, for many to do so.”

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