University of Pittsburgh

Appointments & Promotions - Tenure Stream Faculty Information

Terms of Appointment Tenure Stream Faculty

The terms of appointment of faculty members in the tenure stream below the rank of associate professor and professor may be for one, two, or three years.  When a decision is made not to renew an appointment, the faculty member on a first one year appointment shall be notified in writing no later than March 15; on a second or subsequent consecutive one year appointment by December 15; by December 15 of the second year of a two year appointment; and twelve months prior to the end of a three year appointment.

A year of appointment in the tenure stream is recognized if the appointment became effective on or before December 31. In cases where the appointment became effective January 1 or later, the remainder of the academic year is disregarded for this purpose, and the next academic year is counted as the first year of appointment in the tenure stream. 

Leaves of absence do not interrupt tenure stream status but may prolong the maximum allowable period in the tenure stream. When a tenure stream faculty member is granted a leave of absence, the official letter of notification from the Provost may state that the period of service has been extended and that the leave will not be counted as a part of the period of service. The minimum extension and period of non-counted service will be one academic term or semester, even though the leave was for a shorter period. 

Under special circumstances, Ph.D. (or equivalent) faculty members and physician faculty members without clinical responsibilities may receive a temporary appointment outside the tenure stream up to a maximum of two academic years.  A temporary appointment outside the tenure stream under this provision shall be made only when exceptional circumstances prevail that prevent normal progress in the tenure stream and are beyond the control of the individual.

Tenure may be held only by associate professors and professors. Tenure shall be held by a faculty member only in the school or at the regional campus where the tenure is granted. Once it has been awarded, tenure is obligatory for the University, optional with the faculty member. Tenure does not apply to administrative positions which may be for indefinite terms and are terminable at any time.

Initial appointments at the rank of associate professor or professor shall be for a probationary period of three or four years.  If tenure is not to be awarded, the probationary appointee must be given at least twelve months notice of termination prior to the end of the appointment.   Under exceptional circumstances, the probationary period may be waived (School of Medicine Policy “Conferral of Tenure Concurrent with a New Appointment”).

Promotion to the rank of associate professor may be proposed before the recommendation to award tenure.  For Ph.D. faculty and physician faculty without clinical responsibilities, usually the individual will have completed three years in the tenure stream.  For physician faculty with clinical responsibilities, usually the individual will have completed three to five years in the tenure stream.