The probationary period begins on July 1 of the calendar year of appointment with adjustments made for years of credit transferred from other institutions. Faculty members on tenure track are reviewed in the Fall of their sixth year because of the requirement to provide a letter of non-reappointment at least twelve months prior to the expiration of appointments. If "unexpected, special and extenuating circumstances" occur prior to the sixth year, application may be made for up to a one-year extension of the probationary period. This Regents' policy requires a formal petition, including any supporting documents from the departmental chair and Executive Dean, to be presented to the Chancellor.
The requirement to document that serious and unanticipated events have intervened in the anticipated completion of the normal probationary period is taken very seriously by the University. Even leaves taken under the Family Medical Leave Act may not automatically result in interruption of the probationary period. Faculty members who have reason to believe they will request interruption of the probationary period must have full discussions with their department chair and inform the Office of Professional Development and Faculty Affairs (Jo Halverson in Kansas City) or the Office of Faculty Development (Marianne Eyles in Wichita) early in the process.
The Handbook specifies that "underunexpected, special, and extenuating circumstances prior to the sixth year of service" an extension of the probationary period may be granted for up to one year. This extension is intended to accommodate unpredictable events that disrupt the documented progression of a faculty member towards achievement of tenure. The process requires that a special petition be made by the Executive Dean of the School of Medicine to the Chief Academic Officer of the University and is not undertaken except in cases of unanticipated hardship.
The seven-year probationary period for tenure has been established at the University of Kansas and many other universities for decades. The extension described in the preceding paragraph is one means of extending the probationary period ("stopping the tenure clock"). On March 30, 2006 the Kansas Board of regents approved a new policy for tenure clock extension related to the birth or adoption of a child.
"If an untenured faculty member becomes a parent through birth, adoptive placement, or adoption of a child under the age of 5 prior to May 1st of the fifth year of the probationary period, that faculty member, upon notification to the institution's chief academic officer, shall be granted a one-year delay of the tenure review. Notification must occur within 90 days of the birth, adoptive placement, or adoption. Faculty members retain the right to opt out of this interruption policy."
(adopted by KBOR on 3-20-06)(see page 46 of KBOR policy manual)
The two above mentioned processes are the only means of extending the probationary period without taking a leave of absence. A leave of absence is granted only when judged by the Chancellor to be in the best interest of the Institution.