Temporary Modification of Academic Senate Policy #S20-241 Policy Resolution on Retention, Tenure and Promotion (CURRENT)

Reference Number: S21-287
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, May 04, 2021
Presidential Approval Date: 
Monday, May 17, 2021

Policy #:                       S21-287

Supersedes:                 S20-287

Senate Approval:          05/04/2021

PresidentialApproval:  05/17/2021

Effective:  Immediately

Last Review:                 Spring 2021

Next Review:                Fall 2021


Temporary Modification of Academic Senate Policy #S20-241: Policy Resolution on Retention, Tenure and Promotion


Source Committee: Faculty Affairs

Unit(s) Responsible for Implementation: Division of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development

Consultations: AVP for Faculty Affairs, CFA, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs


As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, SFSU suspended in-person classes in Spring, 2020 and directed that faculty move to remote instruction. While these changes were instituted for good public health reasons, they have necessarily disrupted faculty work. This disruption impacts all aspects of tenure- line faculty work from teaching to research/scholarship/creative activities (RSCA) to service. Continued social and environmental upheaval has exacerbated the current crisis, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.


The impacts on teaching, RSCA, and service have been extreme. Faculty are coping with: continued lack of access to campus resources (which include but are not limited to the library, laboratories, studios, teaching and office space), restrictions on travel (which impact collaborations, scholarly activities, community service, conferences, and field work), cancellation of all events including those of the performing arts, sporting events, exhibitions, and so on, cancellation of clinical assignments and closure of K-12 schools (prohibiting teacher training).


These difficulties also worsen the degradation of social support systems such as child care, elder care, educational facilities for school-age children, and health care systems that enable society to function. The lack of separation between public and private life means that faculty are trying to perform work in teaching, research, and service while managing a mixture of often intense personal challenges.


Furthermore, the current crises mean that many faculty are engaged in high levels of emotional labor in support of students and colleagues beyond normal expectations. The negative impact of the ongoing health, environmental, and social crises does not affect all faculty equally and research has demonstrated that faculty who are female and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately affected negatively and are called upon much more heavily to provide emotional labor support.i


This policy addresses Tenure and Tenure-Track faculty.



The following parts of #S20-241 shall be suspended or altered for all tenure-line faculty who were employed at San Francisco State University in 2020-2021 or who began their employment at the university in Fall of 2020 or will begin in Spring 2021.



Section 1.2.3: Personnel Action File (PAF) and Working Personnel Action File (WPAF)


•       The Provost shall place a letter in every faculty member’s PAF that provides the context for understanding the circumstances surrounding the periods including spring 2020, summer 2020 and 2020-2021. Said letter would be for ALL faculty, because teaching, research and service are being affected during these periods.

Section 1.4: Department and College Level Review Procedures


A.    Faculty members who were probationary in 2020-2021 and would normally be eligible fortenure review in a fall semester will be notified by their college deans in writing before the start of the fall semester along with their department peer review committees and department chairs. Such faculty who are eligible for review for tenure but wish an additional probationary year must notify the department chair, department peer review committee, College dean, UTPC and Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development in writing that they do not wish to be considered that year. Their review for tenure will automatically take place the following academic year.

B.    Review of associates seeking promotion to full should also take into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on their teaching, professional development, and service.

C.    Inclusion of Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETEs) for 2020-2021 instruction in a faculty member’s Personnel Action File (PAF) and Working Personnel Action File (WPAF) shall be at the sole discretion of the faculty member. No faculty shall be penalized in any way for exercising their right to exclude the results of their SETEs from 2020-2021 instruction.

D.    In lieu of SETEs, faculty are encouraged to solicit informal, anonymous feedback from students during the semester regarding their experiences of remote instruction to help faculty to improve students’ experiences.

Section 1.6.1: Probationary Reviews

A.    Faculty who held probationary status in 2020-2021 shall not be held to the review schedule in policy. All such faculty shall have the flexibility to choose in which two years, outside of the tenure review year, they will undergo a comprehensive evaluation of the previous years of probation. Consultation with the candidate’s RTP committee and should precede thedecision.

B.    Faculty being evaluated for tenure in their final year of probation shall undergo a comprehensive review of all prior probationary years as described in policy.

C.    If the probationary faculty has chosen not to be reviewed for tenure during the sixth-year review, the recommendation from that review shall be for retention or termination. In that case, the recommendation during the seventh-year review shall be for tenure or a terminal year appointment.

Section 1.8: Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Criteria


A.    Departments should review and revise their RTP criteria for all faculty at all ranks if appropriate to ensure maximum flexibility and cognizant of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Departments shall review addenda three years after their approval to determine their continued relevance. After this period, it will be assumed that any addenda approved as a result of this resolution will have expired unless they are updated. Those at all levels of review are urged to be as flexible as possible in evaluating teaching effectiveness and/or primary assignment, professional achievement and growth, and contributions to campus and community for faculty working at SF State in spring 2020.

B.    Faculty shall not be penalized for the lack of SETEs or peer evaluations of teaching for instruction in 202-2021 in their PAF or WPAF.


i McCoy, Henrika. 2020. “The Life of a Black Academic: Tired and Terrorized,” Inside Higher Ed. June 12, 2020. Roberts. Laura, M. and Courtney L. McCluney. 2020. “Working from Home While Black,” Harvard Business Review. June 12, 2020. Kramer, Jillian. 2020. “The Virus Moved Female Faculty to the Brink.

Will Universities Help?” New York Times. October 6, 2020.  Flaherty, Colleen.  “Women’s journal submission rates continue to fall.” Inside Higher Ed. August 20, 2020. Oleschuk, Merin. “Gender Equity Considerations for Tenure and Promotion during COVID-19.” Canadian Review of Sociology…August 2020; 57(3):502-515.

Signed Memo: