Policies and Guidelines for Faculty and Staff
The School's Policies and Procedures
On this page you will find information about three policy areas:
The intent of these guidelines is to give departments/sections/programs in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences flexibility in the timing of promotion and tenure cases within the context of the Institute's general tenure rules, from which the guidelines are drawn.
The Institute's tenure rules are set out in MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 3.1 and MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 3.2 and department heads should meet with their junior faculty to review these guidelines at the beginning of their initial appointment and at regular intervals thereafter.
Initial assistant professor appointments in the School are normally for three years and require the approval of the Dean. An internal (departmental) review is conducted in the spring term of the second year to determine whether the appointment should be renewed. If renewal is decided upon and approved by the Dean, a new two-year appointment is offered (to be effective AFTER the initial three-year appointment, for a total of five years).
Usually, in the spring term of the third year the department decides whether to prepare a case for promotion to associate professor (without tenure). If the decision is positive, the department brings the promotion case forward in the fall of the fourth year, and if it is approved by School Council and Academic Council, the department may offer a three-year appointment as associate professor without tenure (to be effective AFTER the fifth year of appointment, for a total of eight years).
If the department decides to postpone the promotion case until the fall of the fifth year, a one-year reappointment would be offered to extend the appointment as assistant professor through six years. If a fifth-year promotion case succeeds, a two-year appointment as associate professor (without tenure) would follow, to be effective AFTER the sixth year of appointment, for a total of eight years. If the department decides not to prepare a promotion case, or the promotion case is not approved, the appointment would terminate at the end of the fifth year (or sixth year, if a one-year reappointment had been made). If the department decides not to bring forward the tenure case, or the promotion case is not approved, the faculty member must be notified by June 30th of the fourth year that the fifth year is his/her last year of appointment (or June 30th of the fifth year that the sixth year is his/her last year of appointment, if a one-year reappointment has been made).
At the start of the seventh year, the department decides whether to prepare a case for tenure. If it decides to bring the case forward, and it is approved by School Council, Academic Council and Executive Committee, tenure commences at the beginning of the eighth year. If the department decides not to prepare a tenure case, or the tenure case is not approved, the appointment would terminate at the end of the eighth year. If the department decides not to bring forward the tenure case, or the tenure case is not approved, the faculty member must be notified by June 30th of the seventh year that the eighth year is his/her last year of appointment.
Junior faculty members who are hired by MIT several years after receiving their doctorates and who are initially appointed as associate professors without tenure will be reviewed for tenure on a different time scale that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In these cases, however, the tenure review will normally commence no later than the fourth year of appointment. The Dean may require a different time scale for junior faculty members who are hired as assistant professors by MIT three years or more after receiving their doctorates.
In Faculty Recruitment, Promotion, and Tenure Reviews
Letter of April 14, 2008
MIT's Policies and Procedures include provisions designed to ensure that candidates for appointment, promotion, and tenure receive a thorough and fair review of their qualifications and accomplishments. Implicit throughout these provisions is the need for appropriate confidentiality of sensitive information. Among other things, P&P specifically says, "An essential component of the evaluation process at MIT is the solicitation of written assessments from persons familiar with the individual's character, research and teaching capabilities, and academic qualifications. In order to assure the most candid and useful evaluations, MIT has traditionally accorded such assessments the highest degree of confidentiality."
Honoring these policies is an obligation of everyone at MIT, but especially of faculty members. MIT requires all faculty members who participate in faculty recruitment and in promotion and tenure reviews, and all those faculty and staff who may otherwise come to know confidential information, to safeguard that information, including the identity of authors of such assessments and their specific content. Not only is a breach of confidentiality a serious violation of MIT policy, but without conscientious diligence, we will eventually find that this essential component of our process is unavailable or unreliable.
L. Rafael Reif (then Provost)
Bish Sanyal, Chair of the Faculty
The following information provides guidelines for tenured and non-tenured faculty leaves (other than the Institute's general sick leave policy) in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Faculty Teaching Relief Policy (Parental Leaves)
Part-Time Appointment with Tenure for Family Care
Junior Faculty Research Leaves
Old Dominion Leaves
Faculty Teaching Relief Policy (Parental Leaves)
Extension of Tenure Clock for Childbearing
Please note that tenured faculty are expected to provide three years of continuous, full-time service before taking any professional leave of one term or more.
Tenured faculty members (Full Professors and Associate Professors with tenure) are eligible for Sabbatical Leaves (after six years of full-time service), Professional Leaves of Absence (with and without pay), Personal Leaves, Parental Leaves, and Part-Time Appointment with Tenure for Family Care. Some leaves (see below) require the approval of the Dean and the Provost, but ALL leaves require the initial approval of the department/section/program head, and should be routed through him/her.
Leaves may be granted in consideration of the purpose of the leave, the proposed activity and departmental needs. The period of the leave must be specified and shall not normally exceed one academic year; however, the leave may be extended for a second year with the approval of the dean. Extension of any leave beyond two academic years is only possible in extraordinary circumstances and requires approval of the Dean and the Provost.
Sabbatical Leaves provide tenured members of the faculty time off from normal academic duties for scholarly research and study. (Non-tenured faculty members are not eligible for Sabbatical Leaves.) The Institute's plan is based on the normal expectation of a one-half year leave at full salary or a full-year leave at half salary, following six years of full-time service at MIT. Implementation of this policy in a specific case may be limited by the responsibility of the departments to meet their obligations and the financial resources that can be made available. Years in which faculty members are on leave are not counted in the six years (except Junior Faculty Research and Old Dominion Leaves). Years of service beyond the six-year requirement cannot be counted toward qualification for subsequent sabbaticals.
Faculty members must apply to their department heads a reasonable time in advance (normally one year) and describe their proposals for the use of the sabbatical. In considering whether the request for sabbatical leave can be recommended to the dean and the provost, department heads must take into account the commitments for teaching and research in their departments. The final allocation of sabbaticals is made by the Provost.
Professional Leaves allow faculty members to undertake professional development or public service opportunities, whereas personal leaves allow faculty time to address urgent medical, personal, or family matters that prevent full attention to academic and scholarly duties. Professional Leaves are granted by department heads with the approval of the Dean and in consideration of applicable law.
Paid professional leaves are normally taken when a faculty member receives outside funding from a grant or fellowship and the funding is funneled through MIT. In some cases, the department may grant a paid professional leave for service performed within the Department, School, or Institute, with the approval of the Dean.
Unpaid professional leaves may be granted to allow faculty members to undertake professional development or public service opportunities. Such leaves may be granted in consideration of the purpose of the leave, the proposed activity, and departmental needs.
Personal Leaves may be granted to eligible faculty who face medical, personal, or family crises or who have urgent obligations that interfere with their work. The conditions include, but are not limited to, those defined in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and detailed in Section 4.5 of the MIT Personnel Policy Manual, which states under what conditions an FMLA Leave may be taken. Basically, FMLA leaves are unpaid and granted as a result of one of the following:
a) an employee's own serious health condition (including conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth);
b) the birth and care of the employee's newborn child (leave must be completed within 12 months of the date of birth);
c) the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (leave must be completed within 12 months of the date of placement); or
d) the serious health condition of the employee's child, parent, or spouse or spousal equivalent requiring the employee's participation in care.
In consideration of such conditions, eligible faculty members are entitled to a leave without pay of up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period. For leave to be counted towards the 12-week FMLA period, the faculty member must receive written notice that the leave is being considered FMLA leave. Unpaid leave beyond 12 weeks may be granted subject to approval and required documentation.
Faculty members may elect to take advantage of release arrangements offered by schools to accommodate their personal needs. In appropriate circumstances, the release time may count as part of a faculty member's FMLA leave. In addition to FMLA leaves, the Institute offers Parental Leaves and Part-Time Appointments with Tenure for Family Care (see below).
Faculty Teaching Relief Policy (Parental Leaves) are available to female and male faculty members who assume primary responsibility for a newborn or newly adopted child. The goal of this policy is to allow a parent to spend significant time, energy, and focus on the care of and responsibility for a child during the first year of its arrival in the family. This leave is actually a time whereby the faculty member is released from teaching and administrative duties. However, please note that the faculty member is expected to remain in residence and continue departmental service and advising. Faculty members seeking such release will not normally increase their usual outside professional activities, and the Institute rules on outside professional activities for full-time faculty remain in force.
The Institute Parental Leave Plan provides one semester of 100% paid teaching relief.
For women faculty who have given birth, these residence requirements are understood to begin after an initial disability leave (under the Family and Medical Leave Act mentioned above under Personal Leaves) immediately following childbirth. The length of this initial leave is directed (in writing) by the mother's physician.
Faculty members, regardless of gender, who wish to spend the majority of their academic time on the care of and responsibility for a newborn child or a child newly placed with them for adoption or foster care will be released from teaching and administrative duties for one semester at full pay, but they will continue to be expected to fulfill their thesis-advising responsibilities and sustain their research program.
Institute rules on outside professional activities for full-time faculty will remain in force for those on such release. Also, it is expected that, normally, they will not increase their usual outside professional activities.
Faculty members can take advantage of this policy in any term they choose within one year after the arrival of a child. Those seeking such release should notify their department heads in writing (email letter is acceptable) that they will spend the majority of their academic time on the care of the child over the period of the release. Such notification must be made as far in advance of the leave as possible (normally one semester's notification is required) so that steps can be taken to cover the faculty member's teaching obligations.
Part-Time Appointment with Tenure for Family Care Normally, tenured faculty members, regardless of gender, who need time for family care (children, partners, elders) may request a reduced-time (but not below 50% time), reduced-pay appointment for one or more semesters up to five years, with possible renewal. Details of the arrangement must be made with the department head and require the approval of the Dean. Faculty will be asked to specify the nature of the family care that is needed.
Faculty who take advantage of this policy will reduce their outside professional activities proportionately.
This arrangement is limited to family care and does not apply to any other reasons for requesting a part-time appointment.
Please note that Junior Faculty are usually allowed no more than four semesters, or two years, of leave (excluding parental leave) during their first seven years of appointment.
Non-tenured faculty members (associate professors and assistant professors) are eligible for Professional Leaves of Absence (with and without pay), Personal Leaves, Junior Faculty Research Leaves, Old Dominion Leaves (restricted to non-tenured faculty working on humanistic subjects in Anthropology, Global Studies and Languages, History, Literature, Music and Theater Arts, Philosophy, STS, and Writing), Parental Leaves, and Extension of Tenure Clock for Childbearing. While some leaves require the approval of the Dean and the Provost (i.e., Junior Faculty Research Leaves and the Extension of Tenure Clock for Childbearing policy), ALL leaves require the initial approval of the department/section/program head, and should be routed through him/her.
Professional Leaves (with and without pay) as listed above, under Tenured Faculty, are also available to non-tenured faculty members. Please note, however, that only a Personal Leave and the Extension of the tenure clock for childbearing policy will stop or extend the tenure clock. Consult Tenured Faculty policy on Professional Leaves.
Personal Leaves(with and without pay) as listed above, under Tenured Faculty, are also available to non-tenured faculty members. Please note, however, that only a Personal Leave and the Extension of the tenure clock for childbearing policy will stop or extend the tenure clock. Consult Tenured Faculty policy on Personal Leaves.
Junior Faculty Research Leaves are meant to assist young scholars in their pre-tenure years by providing a concentrated period of time during which they can engage in research to advance their careers. All tenure-track faculty are eligible for this one-semester leave with pay, taken during years two to six of the faculty member's appointment. Faculty members who have been given a terminal appointment may not be granted a research leave.
Faculty members are expected to consult with their mentors and the department head about the timing of leaves to ensure the best use of the opportunity and to be consistent with the faculty member's teaching and other obligations. Applications should be submitted to department heads based on their local schedules, keeping in mind that planning and financing are part of the annual budget process. The Department Head, Dean, and the Provost must approve all applications.
Junior Faculty Research Leaves are considered professional leaves and thus do not affect the tenure clock. A term taken as Junior Faculty Research Leave will not be counted in the accumulation of years of service with regard to subsequent sabbatical leaves. Departments may, at their discretion and expense, extend the leave beyond one semester or provide additional considerations, including components of a faculty start-up package or teaching relief.
Old Dominion Leaves are administered by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and are designed to provide one term of leave with full pay to non-tenured professors in Humanities (Anthropology, Global Studies and Languages, History, Literature, Music and Theater Arts, Writing and Humanistic Studies), STS, and Philosophy. This one term leave may be taken during years three through six, although they are normally awarded in the third or fourth year of appointment.
A faculty member who wishes to take an Old Dominion Leave must seek approval from the department head. Applications would normally be a one- or two-page description of the project to be undertaken. Typically, the approval process begins in the fall term preceding the academic year in which the leave is taken. This application is then forwarded, with the department head's approval, to the Dean for final approval.
Like Junior Faculty Research Leaves, Old Dominion Leaves are considered professional leaves and thus do not affect the tenure clock, nor will they be counted in the accumulation of years of service with regard to subsequent sabbatical leaves.
Faculty Teaching Relief Policy (Parental Leaves), as listed above, under Tenured Faculty, are also available to non-tenured faculty members. Consult Tenured Faculty policy on Faculty Teaching Relief Policy.
Extension of Tenure Clock for Childbearing In recognition of the effects that pregnancy and childbirth can have on a woman's ability to perform all the tasks necessary and expected to achieve tenure, a woman who bears a child during her tenure probationary period will have that period automatically extended by one year. A second one-year extension for the birth of any additional child (or children) will be granted by the Provost upon request. As in all tenure cases, a tenure review can take place prior to the end of the probationary period and that possibility should be assessed annually.
Partners or adoptive parents who wish to request an extension of the tenure clock should submit their request in writing to the Provost, with copies to their Department Head and Dean. These copies are for informational purpose only; only the Provost can grant the request. In their requests, faculty members should explain briefly their work and family situation, and describe how their involvement and responsibility for the care of a child during its first year with the family is sufficient to have a significant impact on their research.
No request for extension of the tenure clock can be made during the year in which the tenure would normally be decided.
Normally only one extension will be granted. However, in special circumstances a second extension may be requested.
In all cases, two years is the maximum extension allowed by this policy.
This policy will be carefully monitored and will be evaluated and reviewed at the end of a five-year period .
The School offers an annual salary supplement of $5,000 to junior faculty who need assistance paying for childcare expenses. Senior faculty with small children may apply for this supplement, and their eligibility will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
This supplement applies to each child in the family until they enter kindergarten. Care that is covered includes daycare in a center or in-home arrangement, as well as care from sitters, nannies, and au pairs. Relatives (e.g. parents or grandparents) of the child are not covered in this policy. Recipients of this supplement will be required to demonstrate proof of payment for their childcare expenses. Supplements will be treated as taxable income.
Faculty who would like to take advantage of this program should contact their Department Head and AO to begin the process.