Extensions in the Pre-Tenure Probationary Period

Published January 13, 1993


Occasionally during the probationary period, personal circumstances may prevent a faculty member in a tenure-leading position (Specific Term appointment) from performing at the level that is necessary to attain the stature expected of University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty for tenure within the time frame of the probationary period. In some cases, there is need for fewer hours of employment, and a reduction in appointment below 100% may be appropriate. In other cases, an individual may be able to meet fully and competently the usual demands of their jobs, but may not have the concentration or creativity required to achieve tenure while experiencing high demands in other aspects of life. Therefore, under unusual circumstances, faculty on tenure-leading lines may, during the first five years of the probationary period, request either a Specific Term appointment be written for service below 100%, or that they be given a Special appointment rather than a Specific Term appointment. The effect of each of these options is to provide the faculty member with a period of time that is not included in the pre-tenure probationary period. Extension of the probationary period may be requested for personal reasons (e.g., new child in the family, severe illness), but generally not for circumstances under the control of the University (e.g., undertaking administrative assignments, lack of adequate facilities).

Approval of such extensions is not automatic, but may be granted in the best interest of the University and its faculty to promote and tenure faculty of the highest quality who experience unusual personal demands during the probationary period.


Requests for extension of the probationary period must be initiated in writing by the faculty member and recommended for approval by the unit administrator (chairperson/head/director). Approvals by the Dean and the appropriate Vice Chancellor are required. Requests must be made as soon as is reasonable under the circumstances taking into account the nature of the reason for requesting an extension and the reason for the delay, if any, in making such request. Ordinarily a faculty member will develop the request in consultation with the unit's administrator.

Requests should include the following information:

  • The type of extension requested.
    • Specific Term appointment for service below 100%. If this request is made, the specific duties that will be performed must be included.
    • Special appointment for a specified period with specific duties that will be performed.
  • The starting and ending dates of the period of extension.
  • The reasons for the requested extension, and an explanation of the reasons the specified time period is exceptional.

If a faculty member's request is denied at the unit level, the faculty member may appeal that decision to the next level administrator. If the request is still denied, the administrator will forward the decision and supporting documentation to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for review of the procedures used in making the decision. The purpose of this consultation is to ensure that uniform procedures and expectations exist across all units. A copy of all cases will be filed in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, and notation of approval will be made in the personnel file used for evaluation of the faculty member.