Transfer of Faculty from Tenure-Stream Appointments to Appointments Outside the Tenure Stream

Since the Appointment and Tenure Policies in the University of Pittsburgh Bylaws do not clarify and describe the circumstances in which a faculty member may be transferred to an appointment outside the tenure stream, the following policy was developed. The transfer of a faculty member with an appointment in the tenure stream to one outside the tenure stream should occur only in exceptional cases when there is a compelling argument that it is in the best interests of both the individual and the University. A transfer to a non-tenure-stream appointment may occur only under the following two circumstances:

Type A — Temporary Transfer Out of the Tenure Stream

Except for faculty members in the School of Medicine, a faculty member in the tenure stream with not more than two years remaining before the mandatory review for tenure may request to be temporarily transferred to non-tenure-stream status. Such transfer requires mutual agreement among the faculty member, the faculty committee responsible for recommending tenure in the department or equivalent unit, and the dean of the school. If there is no such faculty committee, this agreement is the responsibility of the tenured faculty members of the unit. All of the concerned parties must agree that a reasonable expectation of fulfilling tenure criteria exists, given the time extension.

This transfer can be done only when exceptional circumstances prevail. Exceptional circumstances that prevent normal progress in the tenure stream must be beyond the control of the individual. Examples of such circumstances might include long-term serious illness of the faculty member or spouse; expanded teaching, administrative, or clinical duties to meet explicitly-defined department, school, or University needs; or an individual's scholarly activity that clearly requires additional time to judge its outcome.

The suspension of the tenure-stream clock shall be for a period of no longer than 24 months, but normally shall be for 12 months, after which period the individual will automatically revert to the tenure-stream status. For faculty in the other Health Sciences schools (other than the School of Medicine) who have clinical duties, the clock may be suspended for up to 36 months. The length of time shall be determined at the time of the suspension and justified by a designated plan for the necessary effort to remove the burdens that prevented progress.

The normal process of review for promotion shall take place 12-24 months later than would have been the case in the absence of the time extension (12-36 months in the other Health Sciences schools other than the School of Medicine). All of the rights and privileges of a tenure-stream faculty member shall apply during the entire period, including the added months resulting from the suspension of the tenure-stream clock.

See also the May 11, 2022, Provost Memo: Interpretation of the Type A Transfer

Type B — Permanent Transfer Out of the Tenure Stream

An academic unit may decide to transfer a faculty member from a tenure-stream appointment to a non-tenure-stream appointment, in which case the language in the Provost's letter of notification and appointment must explicitly indicate that the transfer is intended to be permanent. The University's expectation of activities must be stated in the letter as substantially different from its faculty who are in the tenure stream. The transfer of an individual to non-tenure-stream status shall be made after consultation with the faculty committee concerned with recommending tenure, promotion, and hiring within the individual's department or equivalent unit, and the dean of the school. If there is no such faculty committee, the consultation should be with tenured faculty members of the unit. Such transfer to the non-tenure stream shall not be used with the intent of substituting for a tenure-stream appointment or otherwise subverting the University's Appointment and Tenure Policies.


Please review the following Provost announcements related to the pandemic-related pause on tenure consideration in 2020: