Time in Rank

Time-in-Rank and Mandatory Review Policies for Research Track Faculty

The University has established time-in-rank limits and mandatory review processes for Research Investigators, Assistant Research Scientists and Research Assistant Professors.

Associate Research Scientists and Research Associate Professors may request periodic reviews. However, there is no time-in-rank limit for these appointments.

Check the sections below for details.

Research Investigator

The University has established a 4-year maximum time-in-rank policy for the rank of Research Investigator. After two years in rank, Research Investigators may be proposed for promotion to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist or Research Assistant Professor. Promotion to Assistant Research Scientist or Research Assistant Professor must be achieved before the end of the fourth year in rank.

After a Research Investigator has been in this position for 4 years without promotion, the appointing department must move him or her out of the rank in one of the ways described below:

  1. If the department decides to continue to employ the faculty member, the department may appoint him or her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the department decides to terminate the faculty member, it must provide appropriate notice to him or her of this decision. The terminal time period must be a minimum of 90 days and may be as long as 1 year.

The maximum time-in-rank rules apply to all Research Investigators with appointment fractions greater than 80% effort averaged over the 4 years in rank.

For Research Investigators with less than 80% effort averaged over the 4 years in rank, departments must conduct a complete review during the candidate’s fourth year in rank to determine whether the candidate is making sufficient progress for promotion to Assistant Research Scientist or Research Assistant Professor.

If, based on the review, the appointing department decides the Research Investigator’s progress warrants a continuation in rank, the department may request to re-appoint the Research Investigator for up to 2 more years, contingent on the approval of the Dean.

Assistant Research Scientist

The University has established a 6-year time-in-rank limit and mandatory review to occur at the completion of the third year for the rank for the Assistant Research Scientist.

After the third year of appointment, the Medical School will perform a review of the faculty member. Based on the results of the third-year review, the Medical School may determine that any of the following three possible outcomes are appropriate:

  1. The department may propose the faculty member for promotion to either Associate Research Scientist or Research Associate Professor.
  2. The faculty member is not yet qualified for promotion but is making sufficient progress toward meeting the criteria for promotion to remain in the Research Scientist Track as an Assistant Research Scientist.
  3. The faculty member is not presently qualified for promotion and that his or her performance to date is insufficient to justify continuing in the Research Scientist track. The department may appoint the faculty member to an appropriate staff position or terminate the faculty member’s employment.

When an Assistant Research Scientist has been in rank for 5 years without promotion, the Medical School must do a comprehensive review during his or her sixth year to determine eligibility for promotion or continuation in rank.

As part of this review, the department must compile a casebook that is equivalent with the Medical School’s procedures for promotion and the Medical School must do a full review. The Assistant Research Scientist may be considered for promotion to Associate Research Scientist or Research Associate Professor.

If the appointing department or the Medical School decides the faculty member is not qualified for promotion or continuation, the department has two options, as described below. In each case, the Dean must approve the decision.

  1. If the department wants to continue to employ the faculty member, the department may appoint him or her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the department decides to terminate the faculty member, it must provide appropriate notice to him or her of this decision. The department must notify the faculty member at least 90 days before the date on which the department will terminate his or her appointment or up to or no longer than 1 year before the date of termination.

If, after the sixth-year review, the department or the Medical School decides the faculty member is not yet qualified for promotion but is making sufficient progress toward meeting the criteria for promotion to remain in the Research Scientist Track as an Assistant Research Scientist. A request to reappoint the faculty member as Assistant Research Scientist may be submitted.

As part of the request, the department will prepare a professional development plan that will outline what steps are needed for the faculty member to progress toward successfully meeting the promotion criteria at the time of next review. This development plan will include a timeframe for a subsequent review. The department will submit the request to the Dean. The Medical School will include this development plan in its request to the Vice President for Research to reappoint the candidate.

Recommendations for continuation in rank as an Assistant Research Scientist (after the sixth-year review) require the approval of the Dean and the Vice President for Research.

If the Assistant Research Scientist also holds a tenure-track position in the Medical School or another School or College with a tenure probationary period other than 6 years in length, the appointing department for the research appointment may ask the Medical School to change the length of the review period for the research appointment to the same length as the faculty member’s tenure probationary period, subject to the approval of the Vice President for Research and the Provost’s Office.

Research Assistant Professor

The University has established a mandatory time in rank and review policy for Research Assistant Professor. The mandatory review cycle for the Research Assistant Professor is intended to parallel the Medical School’s review cycle (tenure clock) for tenure-track faculty. A mandatory promotion review will occur during the seventh year in rank. A 3-year time-in-rank extension is possible at that time, but the maximum time in rank cannot exceed 10 years.

After the third year of appointment, the Medical School will perform a review of the faculty member. Based on the results of the third-year review, the Medical School may determine that any of the following three outcomes are appropriate:

  1. The department may propose the faculty member for promotion to either Research Associate Professor or Associate Research Scientist.
  2. The faculty member is not yet qualified for promotion but is making sufficient progress toward meeting the criteria for promotion to remain in the Research Professor Track as a Research Assistant Professor.
  3. The faculty member is not presently qualified for promotion, and that his or her performance to date is insufficient to justify continuing in the Research Professor track. The department may appoint the faculty member to an appropriate staff position or terminate the faculty member’s employment.

When a Research Assistant Professor has been in rank for 7 years without promotion, the appointing department and the Medical School must conduct a comprehensive review during his or her seventh year to determine eligibility for promotion or continuation in rank.

As part of this review, the department must compile a casebook that is equivalent with the Medical School’s procedures for promotion of tenure-track faculty. The Research Assistant Professor may be considered for promotion to Research Associate Professor or Associate Research Scientist.

If the appointing department or the Medical School decides the faculty member is not qualified for promotion or continuation, the department has two options, as described below. In each case, the Dean must approve the decision.

  1. If the department wants to continue to employ the faculty member, the department may appoint him or her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the department decides to terminate the faculty member, it must provide appropriate notice to him or her of this decision. The department must notify the faculty member at least 90 days before the date on which the department will terminate appointment or up to or no longer than 1 year before the date of termination.

If, after the seventh-year review, the department or the Medical School recommends the faculty member for a continued appointment at the Research Assistant Professor rank, the department will prepare a professional development plan that will outline what steps the faculty member and the department will take to help the faculty member continue to develop toward meeting the criteria for promotion at his or her subsequent review.

The department will propose a time for the subsequent review as part of this development plan, up to a maximum of 3 years (not to exceed a maximum time in rank of 10 years). The continuation in rank request and the professional development plan are subject to approval by the Dean.

Extensions of Time-in-Rank

Extensions to time of review for research faculty will follow the policy and procedures developed for tenure track instructional faculty as outlined in SPG 201.92 “Tenure Probationary Period: Effects on Tenure Clock of Childbearing and Dependent Care Responsibilities.”

Time-in-Rank Clock Extensions:  Extensions to time of review for research faculty will follow the policy and procedures developed for tenure track faculty as outlined in SPG201.92  Faculty who bear children, have dependent care responsibilities (including newly adopted children, ill or injured spouses or partners, or aging parents), take medical leaves may apply to have time excluded from the countable years of service that constitute the relevant time in rank period.  In recognition of the difficulty of combining an academic career with significant dependent care demands, any faculty member in these circumstances may, upon written request to the Dean, be granted an exclusion of up to two years from the countable years of service that constitute that individual’s time-in-rank probationary period.  Requests must be made prior to the initiation of the time-in-rank review. 

COVID-19 Extensions:  The Medical School has developed a request and approval process for granting an extension time-in-rank probationary period for COVID-related disruptions.  Please note that this COVID-related extension is both distinct from, and in addition to, the existing process for dependent care extensions.  For those who have already received a COVID extension and still are being impacted by the pandemic can follow the steps below for consideration for one additional COVID extension year. 

Research investigators have a four-year review cycle. With a granted COVID-19 exception(s), the review cycle will be extended to a five-year or six-year period. Assistant research scientists or research assistant professors, our guidelines allow you to defer the promotion review for one or two years. 

Criteria for a COVID-19 extensions include:

  • The faculty member’s research productivity was greatly reduced because of laboratory or research unit closure, or shelter-in-home requirements for the research team due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The faculty member had to provide dependent care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The faculty member or immediate family member required care due to COVID-19 infection.

How to Apply for a Time-in-Rank Probationary Period Extension

  1. The Department Chair submits a letter to the Dean outlining the details of the extension request (i.e. type, time period to be excluded, impact on professional responsibilities, planned subsequent promotion review, reason etc.).  This letter is to be endorsed by the faculty member. 
  2. Submit a mentoring and development plan for the faculty member for all non-COVID related extension requests.
  3. For COVID related extension requests please include a few brief sentences on how the time in rank extension will be used to overcome delays experienced due to the pandemic (i.e. completion of experiments/studies, submission of grants or manuscripts)
  4. The Department submits the letter along with the faculty member’s current CV to the Dean through the Office of Faculty Affairs utilizing the Customer Service Portal
  5. After review and approval by appropriate parties, department is notified of the revised probationary period.