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COVID-19 Tenure and Appointment Clock Extension Policy

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REVISED October 31, 2020

In recognition of the serious academic and personal challenges posed by the Covid-19 viral pandemic, a faculty member holding a tenure-accruing appointment is entitled to a one-year extension of the date (under the seven-year tenure clock) on which tenure would be conferred. This extension will normally have the effect of postponing for a year the initiation of the tenure review process. The Covid-19 Tenure Clock Extension, though it extends the seven-year tenure clock deadline, does not extend the ten-year appointment clock deadline except through an exception granted by the Provost for extraordinary personal or institutional circumstances.

The Covid-19 Tenure Clock Extension is available to faculty members holding a tenure-accruing appointment with the exception of those currently in a terminal year appointment or those whose tenure-conferring promotion or reappointment process commenced prior to January 1, 2020, since the work to be evaluated was done prior to the current pandemic. Teaching relief is not associated with this extension.

Effective October 1, 2020, this tenure clock extension will be automatically granted to eligible University Tenure Line junior faculty members (as defined above) whose faculty appointments at Stanford will begin prior by December 31, 2021. The extension is not available for faculty members whose tenure-conferring promotion or reappointment process has already commenced (with commencement defined as the date the department chair or school dean informs the candidate in writing that the review process has begun).

Under this policy, one-year extensions of appointment for faculty holding fixed-term, renewable appointments at the rank of Assistant Professor in the Non-Tenure Line (Research) will similarly be made automatic effective October 1, 2020.

Also, eligible Medical Center Line Assistant Professors in their initial appointment term will automatically have their initial term extended by a year.  As the standard Medical Center Line Assistant Professor duration in rank is already 10 years, an extension will not be available for those already in their second term.

As with the above tenure clock extension, appointment extensions in the Non-Tenure Line (Research) and Medical Center Line will be granted for those whose promotion or reappointment process has not yet formally commenced.


A faculty member wishing to opt out of the automatic extension should fill out and attach Appendix I – Covid-19 Extension Opt-Out Request Form – and submit it via email  to their Chair (see accompanying FAQ for further details/instructions). 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.

The Covid-19 tenure clock extension and appointment extensions for other lines mentioned above anticipate that the disruptions caused by the viral pandemic are likely continue well into next year; while no additional extensions are currently anticipated, the University is monitoring the situation closely and will respond accordingly.