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

Reference Number: S20-287
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, April 07, 2020
Presidential Approval Date: 
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Policy #:                       S20-287

Supersedes:                 N/A 

SenateApproval:            04/07/2020 

PresidentialApproval:    04/23/2020

Effective:                      Immediately

Last Review:                 Spring 2020

Next Review:                 Fall 2020


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


Source Committee: Executive 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 reaching San Francisco, SFSU suspended (on March 11, 2020) in-person classes 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 has impacted all aspects of tenure- line faculty work from teaching to research/scholarship/creative activities (RSCA) to service.

While the initial focus was on teaching impacts, the issues around RSCA and service have been extreme as have the personal burdens. In addition to the lack of access to campus resources, faculty have increased home burdens including child and elder care, home schooling, and health care, travel restrictions have been imposed (impacting collaborations, community service, conferences, field work), cancelation of all events including those of the performing arts, cancelation of clinical assignments and closure of K-12 schools, to list just a few.

While the policy resolution primarily addresses faculty with probationary status in spring 2020, the directives on the placement of the Provost’s letter and the requirement that faculty have the right to decide whether to include spring 2020 Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness in their Personnel Action Files (PAFs) applies to all tenure-line faculty employed at SF State in spring 2020.


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 the spring of 2020.

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 potentially fall 2020. 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 spring 2020 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.    Inclusion of Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETEs) for spring 2020 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 spring 2020 instruction.

Section 1.6.1: Probationary Reviews

A.    Faculty who held probationary status in spring 2020 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 yearappointment.

Section 1.8: Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Criteria

A.    Departments should review and revise their RTP criteria if appropriate to ensure maximum flexibility and cognizant of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 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 spring 2020 in their PAF or WPAF.

The Academic Senate shall, in fall 2020, consider whether an extension of this policy is needed.

Signed Memo: