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Promotion and Tenure Policy and Guidelines

Decisions to promote faculty members and to award tenure are the most important made by the University, for they determine the quality of the faculty for decades to come. Departments and colleges are urged to be very selective in their recommendations, particularly for appointments to indefinite tenure. For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link below.


An assistant professor providing more than fifty percent (50%) of full-time service to the University enters a probationary period of up to seven academic years of service. An initial appointment that begins after the eighth week of the academic year ordinarily does not count toward the probationary period of a faculty member on definite tenure nor does it ordinarily count as service in establishing eligibility for a sabbatical leave with pay, unless recommended and agreed upon in advance. Such requests must be made in writing to the department head or chair, endorsed by the dean, and approved by the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. The appointee’s choice, if approved, cannot be reversed thereafter. For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link above.


Campus policy requires that a formal, internal review of faculty on probationary contracts take place no later than the mid-point (generally the third year) of a faculty member’s probationary period on the tenure track, unless a decision not to retain is reached. For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link above.


  • Automatic Tenure Hold: The tenure probationary period for tenure-track assistant professors may be interrupted to enable the faculty member to fulfill his/her family responsibilities following the birth or placement for adoption or foster care of a This type of interruption shall be “automatic” under each event for an assistant professor in the tenure-track probationary period who becomes the parent of a child by birth or adoption. For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link above.
  • Tenure Rollback: An interruption of the probationary period (non-automatic hold or rollback in the tenure year code) may be granted at any time prior to the T6 year, for any event during the T1-T6 years, for one year, upon request, when an event or compelling circumstances cause substantial impairment of a candidate’s ability to pursue his/her teaching, scholarly activities, and/or This includes caring for a spouse, child, or parent in the case of a serious health condition or for a faculty member’s serious health condition in situations where Modified Teaching Duties (See Section VII.D. below) have not been requested.  The interruption is considered a “hold” when the event occurs within the academic year of the request and is considered a “rollback” when the event has occurred in a preceding academic year. No more than two such interruptions will be granted. For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link above.


During an annual review or the mid-probationary review, a tenure-track faculty member or the faculty member and his/her department head may decide that a change in tenure track is desirable. A “track switch” may occur if it is determined that the tenure-track probationary faculty member’s commitment to the University has changed substantially or their career direction changed. If a switch is desirable, it should occur no later than upon completion of year four of the probationary period.  For detailed information on the requirements and process access the link above.


If it is determined that a faculty member in year six (6) of the probationary period should not be recommended for indefinite tenure and promotion, the University of Illinois Statutes require that a notice of non-reappointment be given at least one year in advance of the date of termination. That notice must be accompanied by an offer of a terminal contract for the following academic year. Notices must be issued by the Board of Trustees by August 16th of the year preceding the termination date, so units must notify faculty members no later than May 15th that notice of non-reappointment is being recommended and that a terminal contract will be offered.

For associate professors and professors employed on a “Q” contract where indefinite tenure is not being recommended, the employing unit should notify the staff member in writing that he/she will not be recommended for tenure and that the current/final year of their “Q” contract will end and they will not be reappointed. The University of Illinois Statutes, for associate professors and professors on “Q” contracts, do not require that the faculty member receive a one-year notice of non-reappointment if they are not being recommended for indefinite tenure.