Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Covid-19 Health Emergency Tenure/Appointment Clock Extension FAQ (REVISED 10/1/20 and 10/31/20)

Main content start

Saturday, October 31, 2020


The following FAQ is designed to address common questions regarding the tenure clock and appointment extension policy announced by the Provost on March 26, 2020, revised to and opt-out program effective October 1, 2020, and again revised effective October 31, 2020 to extend the date by which newly appointed eligible faculty members may have the extension.

1. What does the Covid-19 tenure/appointment clock extension do?

The Covid-19 extension provides eligible faculty members in the University Tenure Line an additional one-year appointment by pushing the tenure clock deadline out by one year.  For eligible junior faculty members in the Non-Tenure Line (Research) and Medical Center Line, the extension extends similarly extends the appointment clock by one year.

2. Who is eligible?

Three categories of Stanford faculty members are eligible:

  • Tenure-line Assistant Professors currently in a tenure-accruing appointment or whose effective date of appointment to a tenure-accruing position will occur by December 31, 2021. Untenured Associate Professors currently in a tenure-accruing appointment also fall into these eligibility parameters;
  • Non-Tenure Line (Research) Assistant Professors holding a renewable term appointment or whose effective date of appointment to a renewable term will occur by December 31, 2021;
  • Medical Center Line Assistant Professors currently in their initial term of appointment or whose effective date of appointment to their initial Medical Center Line term will occur by December 31, 2021.

3. Are there restrictions within these three categories on who may be granted the extension?


  •  The Covid-19 Extension is not available to faculty members whose tenure-conferring promotion or tenure-conferring reappointment actions [or whose regular promotion or reappointment actions for faculty in the NTL(R) or MCL] began prior to January 1, 2020, as the work to be evaluated was completed prior to the Covid-19 emergency;
  •  The Covid-19 Extension is not available to faculty members who are currently in a terminal reappointment year;
  •  The Covid-19 Extension is not available to faculty members for whom the extension would push them past the 10-year tenure clock deadline. The Covid-19 Extension only extends the 7-year tenure clock deadline and not the 10-year tenure clock deadline. Requests for exceptions, as with all requests for exceptions to the 10-year clock, will be at the discretion of the Provost and are likely to be granted only for extraordinary personal or institutional circumstances.

4. What if I am a new faculty member and my official appointment has not yet started?

New faculty members in the three categories of eligible faculty are eligible for the extension through December 31, 2021, if their formal appointment to the Stanford faculty will begin by that date.

5. Is the extension automatic?

Yes. Effective October 1, 2020, the COVID-19 clock extension is being automatically granted for the above categories of eligible faculty members.  No action is needed on your part in order to have this extension (including for those who have already submitted a request for an extension prior to this policy change).

6. When is the extension applied?

As with other types of tenure and appointment extensions, the Covid-19 Extension extends the tenure deadline and the faculty member’s current term appointment.
For Assistant Professors in the Non-Tenure Line (Research), promotion generally occurs after the initial term, so the extension would apply to the end of that term. In the School of Medicine, which follows a two-term structure, the appointment extension will apply at the end of the faculty member’s current term.

For Assistant Professors in the Medical Center Line, the extension is only available if they are in their first term, as noted above.

For faculty members who already have one or more extensions in place (such as a New Parent Extension), the additional year will be added to the end of those extensions already in place. Please note that the 10-year tenure clock restriction noted above applies regardless of additional extensions a faculty member may have had previously.

Faculty members who have questions or concerns about the term in which the Covid-19 appointment extension would apply should speak with their Chair, Dean and/or Faculty Affairs administrator. Exceptions to applying the extension outside of the current term will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Dean.  Please note that if an exception is granted to allow you to take the appointment extension following a reappointment that has not yet occurred, you will be bound by the outcome of that reappointment review should it be unsuccessful.

7. What if I wish to opt out of the Covid-19 extension?

The COVID-19 clock/appointment extension will be processed automatically for eligible faculty members. However, those wishing to opt out of the automatic extension may do so by filling out Appendix I of the Faculty Handbook – Covid-19 Extension Opt-Out Request Form – and submitting it via email to their Chair, with a copy to their Dean and school Faculty Affairs Administrator.  Faculty members will be bound by the outcome of unsuccessful reviews, and the Covid-19 extension will not then be available (a terminal year, if granted, may still apply). 

A faculty member granted the Covid-19 extension who decides at a later date not to use the additional year should opt-out following the procedure above.

Eligible faculty members may not opt out:

  • (for those in the UTL) once their tenure-conferring promotion or reappointment has officially commenced;
  • (for those in the NTLR) once the process for promotion to Associate Professor (Research) has officially commenced;
  • and (for those in the MCL) once the reappointment process to a second term has officially commenced.

8. Will additional extensions be made available if the Covid-19 pandemic persists?

There is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty around Covid-19 in both the near and distant future. No additional Covid-19 extensions of the tenure or appointment clock are currently contemplated, but the University will continue to monitor the situation closely.

9. How do I know that my clock/appointment has been extended?

The Covid-19 Extension will be approved for faculty members eligible under the criteria noted above. As for any clock extension, the Provost’s Office will send a letter of confirmation to the faculty member. Depending upon school practice, faculty members may also receive confirmation from their School Dean’s Office.

10. What if I have further questions?

For questions about opting out or the timing of the clock/appointment  extension, please contact your Department Chair and/or School Faculty Affairs administrator. 
For questions concerning the policy itself, please contact Scott Walters, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs: