Impact of Variable Start Dates on Tenure Review

PDADC#105, 2009-10


To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From:      Edith Hillan, Vice Provost Faculty & Academic Life
Date: June 22, 2010
Re: Impact of Variable Start Dates on Tenure Review

Variable start dates impact on the determination of the year in which a faculty member's tenure review will be conducted. In the period 2001- 2009, approximately 27% of Assistant Professors began their career at the University at dates other than 1st July.

In many instances, hiring divisions have requested a longer tenure clock for those starting on or after 1st September. In these instances, their clock would not begin until 1st July of the next academic year. The Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments does not address the issue of variable start dates, and, as a result, these longer clocks have (usually) been approved. The Policy allows for an initial contract of up to five years to be granted "for compelling academic reasons" and "with the approval of the Vice-President and Provost". This provision within the Policy is rarely used.

Approximately 21% of faculty with start dates between 1st October 2000 (the date at which our database begins) and the 1st July 2009 have requested at least one tenure delay. In addition, there is a steady increase in the number of faculty asking for tenure delays in advance of their tenure review date. In the past, we have generally seen requests for delays come in the spring or early autumn of the year in which the candidate's tenure review will begin. Now we are seeing requests well in advance of the year of tenure review.

Many of our G13 peers have addressed this by using a calendar year to determine a tenure 'cohort'. For example at McGill, tenure cohort years are based on the academic year and are determined by the calendar year of hire. For example, faculty hired during the January 2000 to December 2000 calendar year will be in the 2006 tenure cohort (with review completed by 1st June 2006).

As of 1st July 2010 we will move to a process similar to that at McGill whereby a new faculty member starting at any point during the calendar year (e.g. 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2010) would have their tenure clock start from 1st July of that year (e.g. 1st July 2010 clock would start with tenure review completed as of 15th April 2015). Please see diagram in attached PDF document.

If you have any questions regarding start dates and review dates, please do not hesitate to contact Sara-Jane Finlay (; 416 978 1855) or Suzan Abu Shakra (; 416 978 2632) in my office.