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Probationary Period Policy

Policy

Only full-time service while in the rank of Instructor or Assistant Professor counts toward fulfillment of the probationary period related to the acquisition of tenure. Full-time service is defined as holding a 100% time appointment at the University for both fall and spring semesters of an academic year on faculty salaries and/or on any other funds administered by the University. Periods during which a faculty member is on leave of absence without salary for the University or is serving in the rank of lecturer, senior lecturer, specialist, or any rank officially carrying the description “visiting,” “clinical,” or “adjunct,” or periods of prior academic service at any institution other than the University of Texas at Austin shall not be counted toward the fulfillment of a required probationary period related to the acquisition of tenure.

The maximum probationary period that may be served in the rank of instructor is four years. An instructor’s “up or out” year will be the third year of full-time service in rank.

The maximum probationary period that may be served in the rank of assistant professor is seven years. An assistant professor’s “up or out” year will be the sixth year of full-time service in rank.

The maximum probationary period that may be served in any combination in rank of instructor and assistant professor is seven years. The “up or out” year will be the sixth year of full-time service in the combined ranks of instructor and assistant professor.

Extending the Probationary Period -- “Stopping the Tenure Clock”

Faculty Leave

There are two types of leave: leave of absence without salary (also known as leave without pay) and leave from the instructional budget (also known as release time from the instructional budget). Parental leave, sometimes referred to as “maternity” leave, is included under the scope of this policy.

Leave without pay occurs when a faculty member does not receive compensation from any source of funds administered by the University for either all or part of his or her regular academic year appointment. Examples of leaves without pay include leaves funded by personal resources and those funded by granting agencies, paid directly to the recipient (not administered by the University). The effect of a full or partial leave without pay on probationary status: an academic year during which a faculty member is on leave without pay from the University for the fall and/or spring semesters shall not be counted as part of the probationary period related to the acquisition of tenure.

Leave from the instructional budget occurs when a faculty member continues to hold a full-time appointment paid from a funding source administered by the University. Examples of leaves from the instructional budget include research appointments to grants administered by the University, institutional research awards, Faculty Research Assignment (FRA) appointments, to name a few. The effect of a full or partial leave from the instructional budget on probationary status: an academic year during which a faculty member is on leave from the instructional budget for the fall and/or spring semesters shall be counted as part of the probationary period related to the acquisition of tenure.

Faculty Request for Leave forms must be filed by the requesting faculty member by August 1 for fall and long session leaves, and by December 5 or such other date published annually on the provost's office website for spring at the following URL: http://www.utexas.edu/provost/about/dates/index.html.

Additional Extension Type

The University provides for the extension of the tenure track probationary period for faculty under certain circumstances. If a tenure track faculty member determines that certain personal circumstances may impede his or her progress toward achieving tenure, he or she may make a written request for an extension, specifying the reasons for such a request. Personal circumstances that may justify an extension include, but are not restricted to, disability or illness of the faculty member, status of the faculty member as the principal caregiver of a preschool child, or status of the faculty member as the principal caregiver of a disabled, elderly, or ill member of the faculty member’s immediate family. The requesting faculty member should provide adequate documentation to demonstrate why the extension should be granted.

All requests to extend the probationary period must be made before the end of the spring semester (May 31) of the faculty member’s fifth year of full-time probationary service.

Modified Instructional Duties

Tenure-track and other full-time faculty members may request modified instructional duties (MID) for one semester when certain personal circumstances prevent them from being able to perform their classroom teaching duties, and when such modifications are found to be in the interest of the University's instructional programs. MID is not a leave, does not affect the probationary clock, and only replaces the faculty member's classroom teaching duties only with an alternative work assignment in compliance with the equivalencies set out in Series 31006, Academic Workload Requirements in the Regents Rules. Where justified, a faculty member on tenure-track may make a separate request for an extension of the probationary period.

Additional Resources on Probationary Periods and Leaves:

How to Calculate Years in Probationary Status (.pdf)
http://www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/h0315.html
http://www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/h0311.html
http://www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/h0310.html

Additional Resources on Modified Instructional Duties Assignments:
http://www.utexas.edu/policies/hoppm/05.B.01.html

Please direct questions to Gail Davis.