Whether you're going up for tenure next year, or you've just started your first probationary term, it's never too early to learn about the tenure process!
Where to find information
- Policy 77 – Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members. We strongly recommend getting to know this policy well. Ask us questions if you have them.
- Your Faculty’s instructions for applying. Applied Health Sciences and Environment have theirs online.
- The slides from FAUW’s annual workshop on applying for tenure (PDF).
What you need to know
- The players: Tenure cases go through three levels of committees, and then the University president.
- DTPC = Department Tenure and Promotion Committee
- FTPC = Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee
- UTPC = University Tenure and Promotion Committee
- The deadlines: Your notice of intent to apply is due to your chair on June 1, and your brief needs to be submitted by July 1, along with the names of at least three arms-length external referees.
- The extensions available: There are many reasons for extending the renewal period (parental leave, illness, delay setting up lab equipment). If you think his applies to you, it may be helpful to check in with FAUW. For extensions related to illness or disability, talk to Occupational Health.
- The warning signs: If you get negative comments on an annual performance review, take the comments to heart and come check in with us.
- Your options: You have recourse to challenge an unfavourable decision, though proactive strengthening of your tenure file will ideally avoid this step. You can also challenge the involvement of particular referees and DTPC/FTPC members on your file, for bias or conflict of interest (i.e., that the person will benefit or be perceived to benefit from the decision).
Who to talk to
- Your chair or director will provide an overview of the process, timelines, and expectations for your particular unit.
- A departmental mentor or colleague with experience and insight.
- FAUW if there are any concerns based on annual performance review comments or messages from your chair/director. Be sure to attend our workshop, offered every April.
Questions to ask
In the years before you apply for tenure, be proactive and ask the following questions:
- Are there any danger signals in my annual performance review that I need to address? Have you had negative or specific comments on some aspect of your performance? If so, please check in with FAUW.
- What are the departmental or school standards for tenure? FAUW and CTE workshops discuss requirements for tenure in a general sense. You must supplement these resources with what is required in your local context.
- Be proactive! We can’t stress this enough. Don’t be caught by surprise close to tenure application time. Consult with colleauges, attend workshops and gather information to inform your tenure brief early.
- Keep your audience in mind: Your candidate’s brief should be written not just for your departmental or school committee, but also for those who don’t know your area. Explain the importance of your research and discipline as well as the impact that you have made.
- Think carefully about when to apply. You can apply for tenure in any year of your second probationary term, but it is standard to apply in either the second year (option 1) or third year (option 2). Applying in the first year is rare:
In exceptional circumstances, for instance where extensive experience was acquired prior to the probationary appointment at UW, an individual may be considered for tenure earlier than the second year of the second probationary appointment.” (Policy 77 section 4.)
Things to consider that may affect your choice between options 1 and 2 (and remember, if in doubt, check in with FAUW):
- Have you taken your pre-tenure sabbatical leave? (You should.)
- Have you addressed any concerns expressed in your probationary reappointment letter, your performance reviews, or by students?
- Have you discussed it with your mentor?
- Have you discussed it with your chair?