Tenure Clock Extension Initiative

In October of 2010, the Indiana University School of Medicine voted to allow additional flexibility in the tenure clock. Faculty members who choose to do so may request an extended clock of nine years (rather than the traditional seven). Please click the links below for more information about this important policy initiative.

History of InitiativeFAQsResourcesExtension Policy

Dec. 2007

On behalf of the Basic Science Council (comprised of basic science department chairs and research center directors), Drs. Michael Vasko and David Burr propose to the Dean and School of Medicine Executive Committee that the tenure probationary period be lengthened to 10 years. The proposal is unanimously approved.

Spring/summer semesters 2008

Office for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development conducts in-depth analysis of issue. White paper disseminated at start of fall semester 2008.

October 2008

School of Medicine Women’s Advisory Council submits letter giving unanimous support.

Fall semester 2008

Issue reviewed by IUPUI Faculty Council, Faculty Affairs Subcommittee

February 2009

Upon recommendation for more input from faculty at large and faculty governance, a referendum vote was held among the School of Medicine tenure track faculty. This vote yielded a 35% response rate with 85% of those who voted in favor of lengthening the probationary period. Results reviewed and endorsed by the IUSM Steering Committee.

Fall Semester 2009

Referendum results reviewed by IUPUI Faculty Council and Faculty Affairs Subcommittee. Administrative process that would allow any IUPUI school to petition to lengthen the probationary period is proposed. Time frame changed from 10 year clock to 9 year clock to be consistent with current individual extension policy.

March 2010

Administrative process is approved by IUPUI Faculty Council and IUPUI Dean of the Faculties, Uday Sukhatme, PhD

April 2010

University Faculty Council reviews language for Academic Handbook that would allow a campus to adopt such a policy.

June 2010

Board of Trustees approves language for Academic Handbook that would allow a campus to adopt such a policy.

Fall semester 2010

In accordance with the approved administrative policy, the School of Medicine undertook the remaining steps:

  1. Two town hall meetings were held to encourage open discussion about the proposal to extend the tenure clock. These were advertised widely by chairs, via direct email to faculty from the president of the IUSM faculty steering committee, and in the online weekly IUSM newsletter. In addition, a virtual town hall was available to all faculty.
  2. On October 18, 2010 tenure and tenure track faculty received an email from the president of the IUSM faculty asking them to participate in the vote to extend the tenure clock. The voting period remained open until November 19.
  3. As outlined in the approved policy, in order to ratify this policy change, IUPUI Faculty Council requires that 2/3 of the tenured and tenure-line faculty in IUSM approve the measure. The results of the vote were as follows:
    • Yes=464 (78% of those who voted, 68.6% of eligible voters)
      No=119 (20% of those who voted, 17.6% of eligible voters)
      Abstentions=9 (2% of those who voted, 1.3% of eligible voters)
    • Given this, IUSM met the threshold of two-thirds of our faculty in support of the extension from 7 to 9 years.

Spring semester 2011

A summary of the process, rationale for extension, results of the vote, endorsement from the IUPUI faculty council, and the IUPUI chancellor’s endorsement of the extension was presented to the Board of Trustees for review and final approval.

What are we actually voting on?
Will this change the policy for what is required of faculty members in the promotion and tenure process?
Can current faculty members be 'grandfathered' into this policy?
What are the pros of extending the tenure clock?
What are the cons of extending the tenure clock?
How many votes are required to change the policy?
Didn't IUSM already vote on this policy?
To date what has taken place in regard to a possible tenure extension for IUSM?
How will IUSM protect tenure, something which is fundamental to the success of university life?
Are medical schools really different then other schools/disciplines?
The AAUP offered guidelines for medical schools to consider prior to extending the tenure clock. How is IUSM meeting these conditions?
What is the meaning of tenure in academic medicine?
Does increasing the tenure clock erode academic freedom?

AAUP. (1996). Tenure in the medical school. Academe, 82(1), 40-45. Available Online.

Andrews, J. G. (2009, January/February). On extending the probationary period. Academe.
Available Online.

Basken, P. (2010, August).  Medical colleges shrink tenure as their teaching hospitals grow.  The Chronicle of Higher Education. Available Online.

Bickel, J. (1991). The changing faces of promotion and tenure at U.S. medical schools. Academic
Medicine, 66 (5), 249-256. Available Online.

Bunton, S.A. (2010). The relationship between tenure and guaranteed salary for U.S. medical school faculty. AAMC Analysis in Brief, 9(6).Available Online.

Bunton, S.A., & Corrice, A.M. (2010). Trends in tenure for clinical M.D. faculty in U.S. medical schools: A 25-year review.  AAMC Analysis in Brief, 9(9). Available Online.

Dankoski, M., Palmer, M., & Bogdewic, S. (2008).  Flexibility in the tenure clock: Why the time is right to adopt a 10-year tenure probationary period in the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Available Online.

Fox, G., Schwartz, A., & Hart, K. M. (2006). Work-family balance and academic advancement in medical schools. Academic Psychiatry; 30(3), 227-234. Available Online.

Jones, R. F., & Sanderson, S. C. (1994). Tenure policies in U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools. Academic Medicine, 69 (9):772-778. Available Online.

Liu, M., & Mallon, W. T. (2010). Tenure in transition: Trends in basic science faculty appointment policies at U.S. medical schools. Academic Medicine, 79(3), 205-213. Available Online.

Lowenstein, S. R., Fernandez, G., & Crane, L. A. (2007). Medical school faculty discontent: prevalence and predictors of intent to leave academic careers. BMC Medical Education, 7(37). doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-7-37. Available Online.

Quinn, K. (2010). Tenure clock extension policies: Who uses them and to what effect? NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education, 3(1), 183-206. doi:10.2202/1940-7882.1045.
Available Online.

“IUPUI recognizes its responsibility to provide tenure-eligible faculty members a fair and reasonable probationary period. It also recognizes the pressures that changing work environments place upon some disciplines and professions.” Read the entire document here.