Changes to the Tenure Regulations

The Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure is a living document and is changed periodically to reflect new directions in the promotion and tenure system at the University of Minnesota.  The tenure regulations may be changed by joint recommendation of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the Faculty Senate and the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.  These recommendations are presented to the Faculty Senate for vote. Following a positive vote, the recommended changes to the tenure regulations are sent to the Board of Regents for their vote and approval.


The most recent changes to the tenure regulations occurred in June, 2011.

In brief, these changes focused on:

(1) updating language that describes academic freedom and responsibility to conform to the Regents policy on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (2011);

(2) defining the role of an instructor on a probationary period;

(3) providing for a single vote for tenure and promotion for probationary assistant professors;

(4) more clearly defining probationary appointments at the associate professor and professor level; and

(5) expanding and clarifying the extension of the probationary period.

For a complete description of the changes to the tenure regulations in June, 2011, refer to this presentation to the Board of Regents in May, 2011.

The previous changes to the tenure regulations occurred in June, 2007.  These changes were the direct result of the University of Minnesota Strategic Positioning Effort.  The Faculty Culture Task Force had recommended that the tenure and promotion criteria for faculty be made more rigorous at the same time that they recommended changes to the extension of the probationary period to make the tenure regulations more family friendly.  The most notable changes to the tenure regulations included: (1) substantial revision of the criteria for tenure [subsection 7.11] to increase their rigor and specificity; (2) the addition of a rigorous section on the criteria for promotion to the rank of professor [subsection 9.2], which had never been part of the tenure regulations; and (3) the expansion to the section [subsection 5.5] describing the reasons for extending the probationary period to include personal illness and/or injury of the faculty member. The changes to the university-wide tenure and promotion criteria [subsections 7.11 and 9.2, respectively] did not change in the 2011 changes to the tenure regulations. 

A more complete look at a comparison of the changes to the tenure regulations in 2007 and 2011 are provided in the table below. These changes are compared to the tenure regulations of 2001.


Section of Tenure Regulations

2001 version

2007 version

2011 version

7.11 Criteria for Tenure

Candidate must demonstrate “potential to contribute to missions of teaching, research, and service”

“Has established . . . a distinguished record of academic achievement”; “demonstrated scholarly or other creative achievement and teaching effectiveness must be given primary emphasis”;


No change from 2007

7.12 Departmental Statement

Requires each unit have a document (the “7.12 statement”) that contains indices and standards to judge whether candidates meet the criteria for tenure in 7.11.

Requires the unit 7.12 statement to include the indices and standards for promotion to professor in addition to criteria for tenure; must be approved by tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Requires the unit 7.12 statement also include goals and expectations for each unit for the annual review of tenured faculty.

9.2 Criteria for Promotion to Professor

Did not exist

Added; Candidate “added substantially to a distinguished record of academic achievement” and “established the national or international reputation (or both) ordinarily resulting from such distinction and achievement”.

No change from 2007

5.5 Extension of the Probationary Period

Faculty member may request permission for an extension for two conditions:  parental or caregiver demands.

Added a third reason for extension – personal illness or injury of the faculty member.

Faculty member provides notification to extend the probationary period for parental reasons; faculty member requests permission for caregiver demands or personal illness or injury; a total of three years of extensions is allowed.

6.3 Relation between Tenure and Promotion of Assistant Professors

Two votes taken by unit – one on the question of tenure and one on the question of promotion.

No change from 2001

Single vote taken by unit on tenure and promotion for assistant professors on probationary appointment


Permits probationary appointment of instructors

No change from 2001

Specifies that instructors may be appointed for up to two years if they have not completed their terminal degrees; this period counts as part of the probationary period.


Changes in 7.12 statements for units



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