Additional information on Student Experience of Teaching surveys and tenure clock extensions

April 17, 2020

By Lori Kletzer, Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 

Dear Colleagues,

I write to provide additional clarity on topics relating to academic personnel review and COVID-19 disruptions, following up on an earlier letter to deans and department chairs. I understand that many aspects of our work and our lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. I expect that all levels of review will take this time period of disruption into account in upcoming reviews, and will not penalize faculty for reduced productivity that is a result of the COVID-19 situation.

Student Experience of Teaching (SET) surveys will continue to be administered and included in personnel files. SETs provide students with a valuable opportunity to give feedback confidentially and directly to the department about their educational experiences. We all understand that SET feedback is not a direct measure of teaching excellence. I expect that all levels of review will appropriately contextualize SETs from winter and spring quarters of 2020. Faculty and departments do not need to spend extra time explaining why the SETs were anomalous. Faculty are always encouraged to provide alternative sources of evidence for assessment of teaching effectiveness, such as a self-evaluation of teaching. A description in the personal statement of the steps you have taken to transition courses to remote platforms will allow reviewers to give due recognition of these extraordinary efforts in the advancement process. Departments are encouraged to focus on two sources of evidence besides SETs in assessing teaching effectiveness. Department letters should still provide some comment on the SETs, but can predominantly base assessment on other evidence. 

An Assistant Professor or Assistant Teaching Professor (Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment) may request a one-year extension of the tenure/SOE limit clock under APM 133-17. Extensions must be requested before the tenure/SOE review begins. A request to stop the clock must be submitted by email, via the Department Chair and Dean, to the Academic Personnel Office. The Academic Personnel Office will route the requests to the appropriate approval level. The request need only provide a brief statement (1-2 sentences) of the disruption; a lengthy justification is not necessary or expected. Extensions only change the latest deadline by which a tenure/SOE review must begin; faculty may still choose to be reviewed for tenure and promotion at the normal time. 

Having documentation about the request for a tenure clock extension will help protect faculty in future reviews. The disruptions of this year will be taken into account at the next review, and at the tenure review. By putting documentation into the personnel file, we are trying to ensure that this disruption is taken into account throughout the career of the faculty member. For example, when being reviewed for promotion to full, we want to minimize questions and concerns about delays to tenure. The best way to protect our faculty into the future is to have some  documentation in the file. It doesn't need to be extensive, just a very brief factual statement of the current disruption to their work.


Lori G. Kletzer