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COVID-19 Probationary Period Extension and Academic Deferral Toolkit

Last updated June 11, 2020

Background Summary

In light of the COVID-19 crisis and the potential impact on academics’ scholarly and creative work during the Spring quarter, on March 24, 2020, Chancellor Khosla and EVC Simmons, in consultation with the UC San Diego Academic Senate, announced that that effective immediately:

  • UC San Diego will automatically extend the probationary period by one year for each assistant-level appointee whose appointment began on or before June 30, 2020 and who is subject to an eight-year clock, provided that the individual has not previously been granted two such extensions. While individuals with two previous extensions will not receive the extension automatically, they may request an exception for a third extension due to COVID-19.
  • The automatic extension of the probationary period includes those who will begin their 6th (sixth) year of service in 2020-2021.
  • The automatic extension of the probationary period does not include those who had a promotion review during or before the 2019-2020 academic year and who had an outcome of postponement or terminal year.
  • Senior faculty and academics whose scholarly work has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis may choose to defer their academic review for one year. This deferral will not impact established departmental expectations for achievement during a normal two-, three-, or four-year review cycle. Academic review following a deferral will not be considered off-cycle. Appointees must be reviewed at least once in every five year period, per UCOP APM 200-0.

Extensions to the probationary period (also known as Stop-the-Clocks) may result in a decoupling of merit reviews on the normal two year cycle from appraisals and promotion reviews. The latter are always seen by CAP, but decoupled merit reviews that do not involve an acceleration or BOS will be treated as Dean’s authority actions. 

Individual review cycles should be discussed annually with department chairs and AP staff to determine the most beneficial trajectory for an assistant level appointee.  On the one hand, candidates whose research has been significantly delayed by COVID-19-related disruptions may decide that their prospects for tenure would be more accurately judged by CAP if their appraisal were delayed for a year and thus uncoupled from the normal merit review, which would proceed under the dean's authority. On the other hand, candidates often benefit from CAP's candid assessment of their files through the appraisal process, and it may therefore be in the candidate's best interest to receive the benefit of CAP's judgment sooner rather than later on the path to promotion. 

Departments may decide to utilize the optional “opt-out” form provided by the office of Academic Personnel Services to assist with review timeline planning. 

Process

Extensions to the probationary period will be automatic.  There are many scenarios impacted by an extension to the probationary period, depending on the appointee’s review history and remainder of time “on the clock”.  In general, an academic appointee may “opt out” of the automatic extension to their probationary period at any time by submitting a promotion file.  An appointee may also “opt out” by submitting a 4th year appraisal at the standard review time and may later choose to “opt back in” when considering promotion readiness. 

Merit and Reappointment reviews de-coupled as a result of the extension to be probationary period are considered normal on-time merits at the Dean level of authority.  Decoupled merit/reappointment files will not be reviewed by CAP.

Merit and reappointment deferrals are not automatic. Any desired deferral will require a memo relating the connection of the request to the COVID-19 pandemic and be routed for consideration according to standard practice/process. Authority level for a deferral is contingent on whether the request constitutes a first or second consecutive deferral request.

Please see the FAQ below.

General

Q: How will these automatic extensions of probationary periods related to COVID-19 be implemented?

A: Automatic extensions of the probationary period due to COVID-19 are to be applied now, as a one-time solution for real and potential difficulties appointees may experience this academic year (AY 2019-20) and moving forward as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic Personnel (AP) staff at the department level will use the campus-wide personnel database (AP Data) to enter new end dates and to track review timelines for individual appointees.  On an annual basis, each department will inform faculty of review eligibility per its normal department procedures. 

Q: Whom do they impact?

A: COVID-19 related automatic extensions of the probationary period are applicable to academic appointees who are subject to an eight-year probationary period with a hire date previous to July 1, 2020.   

Q: When will these be implemented?

A: The probationary period extension is effective immediately.  Impacted academic appointees should meet with their department AP staff before Fall of 2020, to discuss their individual clock and potential deferral requests. 

Q: If the campus COVID-19 crisis continues past Spring Quarter 2020, will these guidelines be revised to include individuals hired after June 30, 2020?   

A: This may be re-evaluated at a later date.

Q: Will the October 15 deadline for academic review materials eligible to be reviewed be adjusted?

A:  No. 

Assistant Professor Review Impact

Q: My appointment date is July 1, 2020. How might this emergency measure affect me?

A: While an additional year will not be automatically applied to the probationary period for individuals appointed on or after July 1, 2020, campus reviewers remain aware that COVID-19 may impact future reviews and additional measures may be necessary. Academic appointees appointed July 1, 2020, and thereafter will have an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances, including effects of the COVID-19 crisis, in their academic review file. Please see campus notices regarding Academic Review Files: 5/29/20205/8/20203/24/2020; 3/18/2020#13/18/2020#2

Q: I have a review currently in progress with a July 1, 2020 effective date; how will this extension of the probationary be applied to me?

A: Individuals who are currently under review with an effective July 1, 2020 date and who have not yet completed their 8-year probationary period, will continue to have their review file processed as normal. Once that review is complete, the extension of the probationary period will be applied unless: 1) the current review results in a promotion, 2) the current review includes a request to postpone promotion by one-year, or 3) the current review is a terminal reappointment file.

Q: What if I received a terminal reappointment and am serving my terminal/final year?

A: If you are adversely impacted by COVID-19 during your terminal year and the pandemic has been causal to additional delays for what you anticipated would be a viable promotion appeal file, you may request an extension to the due date for submitting a promotion reconsideration file.   

Your request should document events that have interfered with your ability to complete the body of work to be reviewed for promotion (e.g. academic press temporary and/or long-term closures, lab results unable to be processed, publications paused that would justify promotion, artistic performances cancelled, academic reviewer illnesses or inaccessibility, etc.). 

Q: I don’t need or want this extension. If I want to opt out of the automatic extension to my probationary period, what is the deadline by which I need to notify my department?

A: To allow timely preparation of a promotion file, you should inform your department chair or equivalent as soon as possible during the spring quarter before an upcoming fall review.

Q: What will happen when I opt out of the automatic extension of the probationary period?

 A: Your probationary clock will remain the same as it is now. Your academic review schedule will also remain the same as it is now.

Q: What if in the future, I decide that I don’t wish to wait another year to be considered for promotion?

 A: As has always been the case, assistant-level appointees may put forward a file requesting a promotion whenever they deem they are ready for such advancement.

Q: What happens if accepting this automatic extension of the probationary period causes me to reach my two extension maximum and I have a qualifying family accommodation event in future?  Would I be eligible to request a third extension of my probationary period?

A: You would be able to request a third extension of your probationary period.  Please know that any request for an exception to allow a third one-year extension will require approval by the UCOP Provost and Executive Vice President. The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs has established an expedited process to handle such requests. An FAQ from UCOP and the new systemwide form for requesting 3rd extensions of the probationary period for COVID-19 Related Disruptions are now available.

Deferral Related: All Ranks

Q: I am an Assistant level appointee. Does this automatic extension of the probation period defer the timing of my next merit or reappointment review file?

A: The timing of your next merit/reappointment review will not be altered unless you also choose to defer your review in conjunction with the automatic extension of the probationary period. The extension will alter the timing of a 4th year appraisal file and your mandatory promotion date (i.e., your “must be promoted by x/xx/xx” date.  Ladder-rank faculty and Teaching Professors (LPSOE) may consult the UC San Diego Probationary Period Tool for Family Accommodations to see how this extension will impact projected reviews.

Q: This new extension has decoupled my merit and 4th year appraisal or upcoming 6th year file; how do I request a deferral of my merit/reappointment to align my reviews?

A: A memo may be sent forward requesting that a deferral be granted in conjunction with the COVID-19 related extension of the probationary period.  Ladder-rank faculty and Teaching Professors (LPSOE) may consult the UC San Diego Probationary Period Tool for Family Accommodations to see how this extension will impact projected reviews. Other series may use this tool as well, with the proviso that all factors (e.g. 4th year appraisals, terminal reappointment years, etc.).may not be applicable to their series.

Q: Are Research Scientists and Project Scientists eligible to defer reviews?

A: Reviews for Research Scientists and Project Scientists may be deferred due to COVID – 19 related reasons. The academic appointee should submit a memo requesting that a deferral be granted in conjunction with the COVID-19 related extension of the probationary period. The current end date of the appointment will also be extended for one year, to coincide with the deferral period.                   

Q: What if I am undergoing a “Barrier Review” Case (Promotion to Full, Advancement to Step VI and Advancement to Above Scale)? 

A: Senior faculty and academics whose scholarly and/or creative work has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis may choose to defer their academic review for one year. This deferral will not impact established departmental expectations for achievement during a normal two-, three-, or four-year review cycle. Academic review following a deferral will not be considered off-cycle.  Appointees must be reviewed at least once in every five year period, per policy.

Q: What if it is determined that I am ineligible for a deferral due to multiple consecutive no-change actions?

 A: A request for an exception to policy may be made in some cases if, and only if, events have transpired as a result of COVID-19. Any exception request should document progress made toward advancement as well as events that have interfered with an academic appointee’s chances for advancement (e.g. academic press temporary and/or long-term closures, lab results unable to be processed, publications paused that would justify promotion, artistic performances cancelled, academic reviewer illnesses or inaccessibility, etc.).

Additional Considerations: Questions by Series

Q: I am a represented Assistant Research Scientist or Assistant Project Scientist. How does this new crisis extension impact my reviews?

A: You are eligible for the automatic extension of your probationary period. If you would like this probationary period extension, no action is necessary; however, you may opt out if desired. Academic Researchers in the Research Scientist or Project Scientist Series may reach out to their departmental Academic Personnel analyst if they have any questions related to the calculation of their probationary period or how this may impact their review cycles.

Q: What, if anything, should I be mindful of as an Assistant Adjunct or an Assistant HS Clinical Professor?

A: If you are an Assistant Adjunct Professor or an Assistant Health Sciences Clinical Professor who has been hired on a fiscal-year basis (Health Sciences), your normal eight-year probationary period consists of ninety-six (96) months of completed service, and any appointment in this series above 50% time will count toward the calculation of the probationary period. This extension automatically extends your probationary period by 12 calendar months, provided you meet stated eligibility requirements. Please reach out to your departmental Academic Personnel analyst if you have any questions related to the calculation of your probationary period, or how this calculation may impact your review cycle. 

Q: What, if anything, should I be mindful of as an Assistant Professor In Residence, Assistant Professor of Clinical X, Assistant Teaching Professor, or Assistant Ladder-Rank Professor?

A: As a member of the Academic Senate, you will need to be reviewed for promotion at least one year prior to the end of your probationary period. If you have any questions with regard to how this extension impacts your review cycle, please contact your departmental Academic Personnel analyst. 

Example Scenarios

Below are possible scenarios departments may encounter.  See the attached chart for additional examples.

Assistant Professor Green was appointed on 7/1/2014 and is currently finishing his sixth year in the Department of Entomology.  He extended his probationary period twice, once in his fourth year when he and his partner adopted a child (Parental Leave) and once again in his fifth year because his lab flooded and significant portions of his research and insect specimens were destroyed.  Will Assistant Professor Green be able to automatically extend his probationary period as a result of the COVID-19 related automatic extension?

A:  The campus cannot automatically extend Professor Green’s probationary period, however Professor Green may request an exception.  Professor Green should submit the request form via the department and Dean. Academic Personnel Services will route the form to OP for review once received. The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs has established an expedited process to handle such requests.

Assistant Professor Blue, Department of Medieval Studies, was appointed at Step II on July 1, 2017 and received an acceleration to Step IV at her first academic review, effective July 1, 2019. Professor Blue is writing a book that, by her department review standards, upon completion and receipt of a publishing contract, will render her eligible for promotion.  She has just been diagnosed with COVID-19 after a recent trip to Italy.  What options will be available to Professor Blue under this new measure?

A:  Professor Blue has four options in this case. She may 1) accept the extension of her probationary period and delay her fourth-year appraisal by one year while going up for a regular  merit/reappointment effective July 1, 2021; 2) Professor Blue may opt-out of the COVID-19 probationary period extension and progress along with her formerly planned review timeline; 3) Professor Blue may accept the automatic extension of the probationary period and request a deferral so that both her merit/reappointment file and 4th year appraisal occur with an effective date of July 1, 2022; 4) Professor Blue may determine she is ready to put forth a promotion file, effective July 1, 2021.  Professor Blue has many choices and should consult with her department chair and departmental Academic Personnel analyst.   

Assistant Professor of Clinical Podiatry Dr. Black, Department of Podiatry, has been teaching medical students in his clinic all year, along with research and service.  He was appointed on July 1, 2015.  This spring, he is finishing his 5th year and had just begun putting together materials for his promotion file, which will be effective July 1, 2021.  Several of his colleagues (including several doctors and nurses), have now fallen ill with COVID-19, or are being quarantined due to contact with patients ill with the virus.  Dr. Black has been called in to work around the clock to help his fellow clinicians, many of which are also from other sub-disciplines not necessarily related to infectious diseases.  Dr. Black is unable to continue working on his academic review file materials which are due in Spring of 2020.  In light of this, how do you advise Dr. Black? 

A: The automatic extension of the probationary period will result in Dr. Black receiving one additional year before he is due for his promotion review. He is still eligible for a merit and reappointment review effective July 1, 2021. The additional year from the extension allows him to submit his promotion file effective July 1, 2022. If he is unable to assemble the materials for his merit and reappointment review at this time, he may request a deferral of his merit and reappointment review until July 1, 2022.  Dr. Black may also discuss with his department chair whether he may have more flexible internal deadlines due to his additional workload.

Professor White is an Associate Professor, Step III, in the Department of Sociology.  They are eligible for a merit this year and have secured a preliminary contract for their new book tracking the impact of pandemics on 1st world countries; however, the press has now stopped processing book publication efforts due to COVID-19 and sick staff members.  In addition, members of the editorial board are now unavailable to meet without a several month delay that will make it impossible for Dr. White to submit the anticipated promotion file on time.  What can they do?

A: Professor White can submit materials to justify a merit to Associate Professor, Step IV, and, if relevant, indicate in a detailed personal statement how COVID-19 events have impacted the contents of the file.  Or, if they would prefer to not be reviewed this year and instead submit a promotion file next year, they may request a COVID-19 related deferral, detailing how the pandemic has caused the need for additional time. Alternatively, Professor White can request a merit to Associate Professor, Step IV, and then come up for standard promotion to Professor, Step I, the very next year.

References

Related Announcements:

3/18/20 Academic Personnel Updates Related to the COVID-19 Crisis

3/18/20 CAP Response to COVID-19

3/24/20 Extension of Probationary Period for Assistant-Level Academic Appointees

5/8/20 May Updates for UC San Diego Academics

5/29/20 Academic File Reviews


Tool for viewing impact of a probationary period extension for Ladder-Rank Faculty or Teaching Professor trajectories:

Probationary Period Tool for Family Accommodations


Related policies (not inclusive):

For related policies, refer to the Policy and Procedure Manual section listed below:

PPM 230-15 Family Accommodations

For related policies, refer to the Academic Personnel Manual sections listed below:

APM 760, Family Accommodations for Childbearing and Childrearing

APM - 133 Limitation on Total Period of Service with Certain Academic Titles


Affiliated Forms/Procedures:

  1. COVID-19 extension of the probationary period opt-out requests can be made in Interfolio. Faculty and academic appointees are advised to consult their department AP contacts.
  2. An FAQ from UCOP and a new systemwide form for requesting third-year extensions of the probationary period for COVID-19 Related Disruptions are now available.