External circumstances sometimes preclude continuous progress towards tenure. These circumstances can include, but are not limited to, medical, child-care or elder-care issues, or the opportunity for a significant assignment away from tenure activities.
Tenure-track faculty may be placed in status that provides a temporary suspension of their tenure clock. In such cases, the faculty member is appointed to a qualified academic title (usually Visiting Assistant Professor) during which time the faculty member still has a full-time obligation to their department or other assignment, but they do not accrue time toward tenure.
To request a qualified academic title, the faculty member should talk to their department Chair. The department Chair should prepare a written request and rational, then submit this to the Dean. This statement should not reveal information of a private and/or confidential nature. The Dean should add their recommendation and forward the request to the Provost. Documentation of the Provost's decision will be sent to the Dean, department Chair and faculty member.
There are various other forms of paid and unpaid leave as well, some of which are described in the SUNY Policies of the Board of Trustees and the UUP’s Agreement between United University Professions and the State of New York. Any paid or unpaid leave, or any time spent in a qualified rank, does not count toward time to tenure.
The UUP Agreement typically contains provisions for the Nuala McGann Drescher Diversity and Inclusion Leaves, which may provide an opportunity for research leave for some faculty. As this is part of the UUP Agreement, it is not a permanent or consistent source of support for UAlbany faculty. However, information about the Drescher Leave and its availability can be obtained from the Joint Labor Management Committees (JLMC). Recipients of Drescher Leaves should be aware that while the tenure clock can be stopped during the leave period, receipt of a Drescher does NOT automatically stop the clock. A separate request to be placed in qualified rank during a Drescher Leave period is necessary for the suspension of the tenure clock to occur.
Procedures for Early Consideration for Tenure
Early consideration for tenure is possible and must be initiated by a candidate's special request. While it is not a routine occurrence, early consideration most commonly occurs when a candidate brings prior experience to their UAlbany faculty appointment. The decision to begin the tenure review process before the mandatory deadline should be made in consultation with the department Chair and Dean, and should only be made when there is consensus within the department and among the Chair/Dean that the case has a strong likelihood of success. The standards and expectations for tenure and promotion remain the same whether the case is presented early or in the mandatory year. The decision to advance a file early should not be made lightly because, once it is initiated, the review process typically cannot be stopped (see next section).
Stopping the Review Process after Initiation
Except in very rare and unusual circumstances, it is expected that — once started — the mandatory tenure review process will be completed in a timely manner and cannot be stopped. In rare cases, where unusual circumstances warrant a temporary suspension of the process, written documentation of the circumstances is required and become part of the candidate's file. A candidate has the right to stop the review process at any time and resign from their faculty position.
For cases involving a request for promotion to full professor, the review process can be put on hold temporarily at any level of review. If it is stopped for lack of sufficient evidence warranting promotion, the dossier can be sealed, or the dossier can be held until new evidence appears, and then acted upon or resubmitted to the Council on Promotion and Continuing Appointment (CPCA) for review at the Provost’s discretion. In no case will documents contained in the file be removed.