Tenure Clock Extension – Policy

At the University of Washington, the transition from Assistant to Associate Professor is an “up or out” decision. Supporting all Assistant Professors to do their very best work is therefore crucial to the success of the individual, and more broadly their unit and college. The College of the Environment seeks to support pre-tenure faculty before and during this decision, and invest in their future by helping them successfully manage their work and life balance.

Recognizing that: (1) faculty may find it difficult to balance their work-life in the first year following the birth or adoption of a child, and (2) Assistant Professors may be reluctant to request a tenure clock extension due to the belief that a bias or stigma against such extensions exists, the College of the Environment has streamlined the process of tenure clock extension.

Faculty members need only inform the Dean’s Office of the birth or adoption of a child, in order to begin an automated approval process for a one-year tenure clock extension. As part of the notification process, faculty members will have the opportunity to grant or deny the Dean’s Office permission to communicate to their chair/director the reason for the extension. Although final approval through Academic Human Resources and the Office of the Provost is still required for all tenure clock extensions, review in the case of extension due to birth or adoption is cursory.

If the faculty member does not want a tenure clock extension due to the birth or adoption of a child, the year of tenure review remains unchanged.

Faculty may also request a tenure clock extension due to the birth or adoption of a child at any point in time, up to the start of autumn quarter of their mandatory review year. Ideally, a late request should be submitted during the Winter quarter of the previous year to insure timely processing of the request.

Finally, it is important to note that tenure clock extensions do not prevent faculty members from going up for tenure review early, essentially reversing the extension after the fact.

Faculty may additionally request medical leave and/or family leave associated with the birth or adoption of a child. Please see the Academic HR website for details on leave options.

Medical and/or family leave are not prerequisites for tenure clock extension; the tenure clock can be extended when no leave is taken. However, there are thresholds of leave that will automatically extend the tenure clock:

Annual Appointment

Leave Duration

  9 months

>3 months and ≥50% time

12 months

>6 months and ≥50% time


Tenure Clock Extension – Guidelines

Faculty should use the confidential online Tenure Extension Request Catalyst survey to notify the Dean’s Office that they are expecting a baby or adopting a child.

Upon receipt of information on the birth/adoption of a child and intention to extend the tenure clock, the Dean’s Office will automatically generate a letter requesting approval from Academic Human Resources and the Provost’s Office. If the faculty grants the Dean’s Office permission to communicate the reason for the extension request, a copy of the letter will be sent to the faculty’s Chair/Director. If permission to communicate the reason to the chair/director is not granted, a letter stating only that the faculty has requested a tenure clock extension will be sent to the Chair/Director. The faculty will be copied on all letters.

Upon confirmation from the Provost’s Office and Academic Human Resources, the Dean’s Office will forward the confirmation of the tenure clock extension to the faculty member and the unit’s Chair/Director. Because extended medical leave automatically generates a tenure clock extension (see table above), Academic Human Resources will wait to confirm the extension until after the faculty member returns to work.

If the faculty member notifies the Dean’s Office of impending birth/adoption, and elects not to immediately exercise the right to a tenure-clock extension, the Dean’s Office will inform the Chair/Director of this fact only if given permission to communicate said information by the faculty member.  Please see a sample letter here.

If faculty who have previously elected not to exercise the right to a tenure clock extension due to the birth or adoption of a child realize at a later date (up to the point of submission of their tenure packet to the unit) that extension would be in their best interest, they may fill out the same secure Tenure Extension Request to initiate the extension process.

Family Friendly Flowchart

Tenure File Evaluation – Policy with Regard to Extension

The University of Washington (UW) and the College of the Environment provide tenure clock extensions to faculty as a benefit to help balance professional and personal goals.  As such, tenure clock extensions do not negatively affect faculty who exercise this right.  The tenure review file is evaluated based on the totality of accomplishments, not the rate or timing of accomplishments.  Any calculation of production or publication rate must explicitly include the fact of the extension(s).  A simple formula would look like:

Relevant Scholarly Production Units
Total Years – Extension Year(s)

To ensure that tenure clock extensions are considered during tenure review, the Dean’s Office and each relevant unit will maintain a record of all tenure clock extensions and will remind the Chair of the relevant Promotion & Tenure Committee within the unit, the unit Chair/Director, and the College Council each year prior to the submission of tenure files that their faculty member(s) has received an extension of their tenure clock and that the file must be evaluated accordingly.

Tenure File Evaluation – Guidelines

For all faculty who receive tenure clock extensions, review of their tenure file must take the extension(s) explicitly into consideration, including but not limited to:

  • The Dean’s Office must inform the Chair of the relevant Promotion & Tenure Committee within the unit, the unit Chair/Director, and the College Council of the tenure clock extension before consideration of the file.  The Dean’s Office will use the list of faculty up for tenure review created annually by Academic Human Resources and updated by the units to include any faculty seeking early consideration for award of tenure. The Dean’s Office will send a letter to the committee.
  • Chair/Director’s letters to external reviewers must also inform reviewers of the tenure clock extension and how to incorporate this fact into their evaluation.  Letters will contain the same language as the Dean’s Office letter to the Promotion & Tenure Committee and College Council.

Additional Faculty Resources

Medical and Family Leaves

  • To learn more about the leave benefits faculty are eligible for, please visit the Academic HR website.

Childcare at the UW

  • On-site childcare at four childcare centers: open to all benefits-eligible faculty
    • Three Children’s Centers at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus provide year-round, on-site infant, toddler, and preschool childcare.
  •  Childcare outside the UW:
    • Bright Horizons Family Solutions: priority enrollment open to all UW faculty
      • UW faculty are eligible for enrollment priority at designated Bright Horizons centers on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Bright Horizons to locate centers in your area and receive information on their tuition rates and potential waitlists. All necessary registration and tuition fees are the responsibility of the family.UW Carelink childcare referral service: open to all benefits-eligible faculty.
    • UW CareLink offers a childcare referral service that can help locate care for infants through pre-schoolers. Access the full array of UW CareLink resources through the APS HealthLink portal (use “UW” as the company code to log in and register).
  •  Caregiver Directory: open to all faculty
    • Free service that provides a means to connect potential caregivers and employers for childcare, elder or adult care, or to run errands or do light housekeeping.
  •  Sick Child Care: open to UW benefits-eligible employees working .50 FTE or more
    • Access to Tender Loving Care at Virginia Mason Medical Center for mildly ill children ages 1-12. UW underwrites the entire daily fee for UW benefits-eligible employees working .50 FTE or more.  Families pay only a one-time registration fee of $5/child.
  •  Emergency Back-up Care: open to all UW faculty
    • Numerous Bright Horizons centers are available in the area and nationwide to provide back-up care when a child’s school is closed or a childcare provider calls in sick.  Most accept children 6 weeks – 5 years of age.  Current UW ID required at time of drop-off.  Cost is $100/day, paid by faculty.

Lactation Stations:

  • 14 stations across campus with new-mother orientations that provide information on identifying the correct accessory kit to purchase for use with available pumps and accessing and scheduling lactation rooms

UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change

  • A campus and national resource for best practices in academic leadership development, cultural change and policy transformation, and increasing the advancement and number of women in STEM fields


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