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4.2.7 Probationary Appointments
The probationary appointment review is conducted to allow the unit, college, and university to formally assess the probationary faculty member’s performance as he/she progresses towards tenure and, when applicable, to offer guidance for the future tenure review.
A regular faculty member's total probationary period shall not exceed seven (7) full-time equivalent years of continuing appointment (not including unpaid leaves) at Grand Valley State University. Allowance may be given for up to three (3) full-time equivalent years of service of an academic nature in other institutions of higher learning at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher, service as a Librarian or full-time service as a visiting faculty member at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher at Grand Valley State University.
If one (1) year of prior service allowance is given, the first probationary appointment will be for three (3) years and the contract renewal review will take place in the second year of the initial 3-year contract. If the contract renewal is successful for a 2-year contract, the tenure review will take place in the fifth appointment year unless extended per Section 18.104.22.168.
If two (2) years of prior service allowance is given, the first probationary appointment will be for three (3) years and the contract renewal review will take place in the second year of the initial 3-year contract. If the contract renewal is successful, the tenure review will take place in the fourth appointment year unless extended per Section 22.214.171.124.
If three (3) years of prior service allowance is given, the probationary appointment will be for four (4) years. The tenure review will be the only formal review and will take place in the third appointment year unless extended per Section 126.96.36.199. However, at the time of appointment, if the candidate requests and the dean approves, a pre-tenure review will take place in the second year of the initial 4-year contract.
The exact number of years equated toward the probationary period will be stipulated in writing as a part of the appointment process. Years granted for prior service count towards promotion eligibility. Years granted for prior service affect sabbatical eligibility as described in Section 4.2.25.
If allowance for previous service is stipulated, it shall not subsequently be changed, rescinded or revoked. Notwithstanding any other provision of Chapter 4 of the Board of Trustees' Policies, a regular faculty member's probationary period shall not be extended once it is established.
If allowance for prior service is not granted, a faculty member will be appointed for an initial four (4) year period and the first formal review for this appointment will occur in the winter semester of the third year. If the first formal review is successful, the faculty member will be eligible for a three (3) year renewal appointment.
The second formal review occurs during the winter semester of the sixth year of the probationary period. The second formal review will be the tenure decision.
In the event allowance for prior service was not granted, if the first formal review is not successful, the fourth year of the probationary appointment will be honored as a terminal year. In the event allowance for prior service was not granted, if the second formal review, occurring in the sixth year, is not successful, the seventh year of probationary period will be honored as a terminal year.
If allowance for prior service is granted by the Dean as provided above, the Dean's appointment letter shall address the length of the initial appointment and the review cycle for a formal review and tenure review.
If an initial contract begins Winter or Spring/Summer semester, then the probationary period will begin the subsequent Fall semester, and the length of the initial contract is extended (See Section 188.8.131.52.1).
Notwithstanding the foregoing in Section 4.2.7, by March 30 of the academic year during which the probationary faculty member's formal review is not being conducted pursuant to Section 4.2.10 (typically, the first, second, fourth, or fifth year), the dean may direct or the unit may vote that a contract review take place during the first half of the fall semester of the following academic year. The written notice to the faculty member of the review must include an explanation for the review and a statement that in the event of an unsatisfactory review, the review year will be the terminal year. Other than being conducted during the fall semester, such a review will follow the procedures for a normally timed contract renewal as called for in Section 4.2.10, with the unit and the college personnel committee voting to either recommend or not recommend early termination to the dean.
If the probationary faculty member's contract is terminated, the review year will be the terminal year.
1. Renewal Of Probationary Appointments. The review of a faculty member’s probationary appointment will result in a three-year renewal, a two-year renewal, a one year renewal, or a non-renewal.
Appointment renewals for regular faculty on probationary appointments normally will be for a period of three (3) years. A three-year renewal indicates the faculty member is
meeting established criteria.
A one or two-year renewal may indicate that the faculty member has performance problems that normally impede tenure. A renewal for less than three years may be recommended if:
A. The faculty member’s Unit recommends a one (1) or two (2) year renewal, and the recommendation is accepted by the College Personnel Committee;
B. The College’s Personnel Committee recommends a one (1) or two (2) year renewal, and the recommendation is accepted by the Dean;
C. The Dean recommends a one (1) or two (2) year contract and gives the College’s Personnel Committee the reasons for such action;
D. The Provost decides on a one (1) or two (2) year contract and gives the Dean and College’s Personnel Committee the reasons for such actions;
A one or two-year renewal may also be recommended if:
E. The three (3) or two (2) year period extends beyond the regular faculty member’s
total probationary period;
F. The regular faculty member does not have the accepted terminal degree in the
A non-renewal of the probationary appointment indicates that the faculty member’s
performance to date does not warrant future consideration.
2. Extending Probationary Appointments by Pausing the Tenure Clock
A faculty member may request an extension of the probationary period by pausing the tenure clock so that she or he may withdraw from teaching, work part-time or continue to work full-time while attending to other commitments. The pausing of the tenure clock will not be held against the faculty member in regards to any upcoming personnel reviews. A request for an extension may be submitted regardless of pay status; i.e. full pay or full or partial unpaid leave of absence. A request must be made in writing to the Dean after consultation with the faculty member's unit head. The Dean may approve a request for a maximum of two (2) years in total during the probationary period. Approval of the request will result in postponement of the time period of a contract renewal and/or tenure review and the new review date will be stipulated in the Dean's approval letter. Unless mutually agreed to by the faculty member and the Dean, the new review shall take place during the winter semester following the schedule of Section 184.108.40.206. Following is the list of circumstances under which a faculty member may be approved for an extension of the probationary period:
A. Faculty member's significant health issue, illness or injury;
B. The birth or adoption of a child (available to both mother, father and household member);
C. Substantial care giving responsibility for a person residing in the household or someone listed in Section 220.127.116.11;
D. Military service obligation;
E. Current immigration status does not permit tenure;
F. Unforeseen and significant disruption that is outside the control of the faculty member and is directly related to an area of evaluation criteria for contract renewal or tenure as stated in Section 4.2.9;
G. Changes in appointment to either part-time work or administrative assignment; or
H. An unpaid leave of absence pursuant to Section 18.104.22.168.