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

Reference Number: S22-287
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Presidential Approval Date: 
Thursday, January 20, 2022

Policy # S22-287

Supersedes: F20-287

Senate Approval: 12/07/2021

Presidential Approval: 01/20/2022

Effective: Immediatel

Last Review: Fall 2021

Next Review Fall 2022

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

Source Committee: Faculty Affairs Committee

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. The suspension of in-person classes continued in Summer 2020, Fall 2021, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021. In Fall 2021, in-person classes resumed, but only 33% of classes were in-person, and these were affected by mask mandates and other university, city, state, and federal rules and regulations. In Spring 2022, SFSU plans to offer 50% of classes in-person. While these changes were instituted for good public health reasons, they have necessarily disrupted faculty work. This disruption affects all aspects of

tenure-line faculty work, including, teaching, research/scholarship/creative activities (RSCA), and service.


As the Academic Senate of the CSU’s Resolution AS-3500-21/FA recognizes, the impacts on teaching, RSCA, and service have been extreme. With respect to teaching, faculty have had to adjust to major changes, including the shift to online instruction, online student assessment, and masked teaching, along with reduced access to archives, libraries, laboratories, offices, studios, and other teaching-related resources and spaces. There have also been reduced opportunities to innovate with new course proposals. With respect to RSCA, faculty have coped with lack of access to campus resources and spaces (which include but are not limited to archives, libraries, laboratories, offices, and studios, restrictions on domestic and international travel (which affects collaborations, conferences, field work, research with human subjects, and access to research materials), cancellation of events, including those of the performing arts, sporting events, exhibitions, and so on, cancellation of clinical assignments and closure of K-12 schools (affecting teacher training), and more. With respect to service, faculty have been challenged by reduced and transformed opportunities for contributions to campus and community, especially when those have involved in-person interactions, travel, and collaborations with community-based organizations.

These difficulties also have worsened 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, RSCA, and service while managing a mixture of often intense personal challenges.

Furthermore, the current and ongoing 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 and are called upon much more heavily to provide emotional labor support.

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 Spring 2020, 2020-2021 (inclusive of Summer 2020) and/or 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 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, 2020-2021, Summer 2021, and 2021-2022. The Provost’s letter would be for ALL faculty, because teaching effectiveness and/or primary assignment; professional achievement and growth; and contributions to campus and community were affected during these periods.

Section 1.4: Department and College Level Review Procedures

A.    Faculty members who were probationary in 2020-2021 and/or 2021-2022 and would normally be eligible for

tenure 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 effectiveness and/or primary assignment; professional achievement and growth; and contributions to campus and community.

C.    Inclusion of Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETEs) for Spring 2020, 2020- 2021 (inclusive of Summer 2020) and 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 2021) 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, subject to the rules below. Candidates for tenure and/or promotion may exclude SETEs from specific courses or specific terms during the period covered by this policy (Spring 2020 through Spring 2022), but no candidate may exclude SETEs from more than five Fall or Spring terms; and candidates teaching in Spring 2022 must include SETEs from a minimum of one course in that term. No faculty shall be penalized in any way for exercising their right to exclude the results of their SETEs from Spring 2020, 2020-2021 (inclusive of Summer 2020), and/or 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 2021). Departments are encouraged to utilize other forms of authorized teaching assessments (including peer assessment, assessment of course design, student letters, and assessment of course materials) when candidates for tenure and/or promotion elect to exclude SETEs.


D.    In lieu of or in addition to 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. This feedback will not be included in the PAF, but faculty may reference it when discussing their teaching in their PAF. Departments are also encouraged to provide peer assessments to strengthen the teaching effectiveness of all faculty.

E.     In the event that SETEs are replaced by another method of student assessmentof teaching, the provisions above will apply to the new method.

Section 1.6.1: Probationary Reviews

A.    Faculty who held probationary status in 2020-2021 (inclusive of Summer 2020) and/or 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 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 should precede the decision.

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, Summer 2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 2021).

B.    Faculty shall not be penalized for the lack of SETEs or peer evaluations of teaching for instruction in Spring 2020, 2020-2021 (inclusive of Summer 2020), and/or 2021-2022 (inclusive of Summer 2021) in their PAF or WPAF.

Signed Memo: