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Mar. 19, 2020 – Message for tenure-track faculty

Posted by on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear tenure-track faculty member:

We are reaching out to reassure you that you have Vanderbilt’s full support during these challenging times with the coronavirus outbreak as we carry out our mission as a leading research university.

The successful move to online courses and alternative education—one of several steps the university has taken to protect the health and safety of our community—has required all of us to embrace rapid change and innovation. In addition, the ramping down of operations with all research laboratories has been disruptive to the research and scholarly activities of you, your students and your research team. We are fully aware of the difficulties this minimal on-campus activity is posing.

We are grateful for all that you are doing to ensure that Vanderbilt remains a collaborative community with informed and creative teaching, renowned research and service to others.

In light of these increased demands at work—and for many, at home—that could slow down or temporarily interrupt your professional career, the deans of all our schools and colleges are in agreement with the provost and interim chancellor that we should take the unusual measure of granting an automatic one-year extension to the tenure clock of all probationary faculty who are not currently under review for tenure.

Tenure-track faculty may choose to opt out of the length of the extension (requesting only one semester (six months for 12-month faculty) or opt out of the extension completely. In order to opt out of an automatic extension of the tenure clock, you must notify your dean in writing no later than one year prior to the time when you would otherwise come up for tenure. For tenure track faculty who will be reviewed for tenure in the upcoming academic year, you must notify your dean by June 1 if you wish to opt out of the extension in whole or in part.

This automatic extension does not affect the ability of a faculty member, with the consent of their dean, to come up early for tenure. The extension only affects the length of the probationary period.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the extension, you may contact your dean, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Tracey George ( (for VU-employed faculty), or Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs David Raiford ( (for VUMC-employed faculty).

I know that by working together and supporting each other, we will navigate any challenges ahead and become a more resilient community.


Susan R. Wente
Interim Chancellor and Provost