COVID-19 Impacts

Mason professor teaching in a mask during COVID pandemic
Supporting Faculty During COVID-19
Supporting Faculty During COVID-19

Faculty Affairs and Development has compiled resources that aims to address areas where faculty may have experienced significant challenges during the pandemic. 

In spring of 2020, the Provost identified COVID-19 as a situation falling within the domain of extraordinary circumstances.

Tenure Clock Extension Due to Extraordinary Circumstances

Extension of the tenure clock for a tenure-track faculty member may be approved for extraordinary circumstances that has substantially impeded progress toward tenure in a specific way.

  • All tenure-track individuals may seek to extend their tenure clock by one year by notifying their local academic unit head as soon as possible, but no later than May 1 of the year in which they intend to seek promotion and/or tenure.
  • All tenure-track faculty hired between August 2018 and June 30, 2021 may seek to extend their third-year contract renewal by one year by notifying their local academic unit head as soon as possible, but no later than August 25 of the academic year in which their RENEWAL decision would have been made

This extension can be used only once and counts as one of the maximum three that is allowed during the tenure-line process. 

The request must state clearly the circumstances in the faculty member's situation that might justify an extended probationary period. The letter must also state explicitly that the faculty member making the request understands that he or she will not enjoy an entitlement or stronger claim to tenure by virtue of continued membership on the faculty beyond the customary period. The request is to be forwarded (in most cases via the local unit administrator) to the school dean. If the school dean supports the request, the request, along with the dean's formal endorsement, is then sent to the Provost for further review. A decision to extend the probationary period will be made by the Provost. The faculty member will receive written notification when the request is approved.

Faculty members who have requested this tenure clock extension due to extraordinary circumstances must not be held to higher standards by reviewers, whether those reviewers were solicited to serve as external reviewers or are part of Mason’s internal review process.

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work

Candidates are encouraged to ensure that their materials include abstracts and conference/scholarly presentations that were canceled during the time of the pandemic.

Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there were no student teaching evaluations for spring 2020, although faculty may choose to include evidence of efforts made to address student needs. Many faculty members engaged in significant professional development activities to adapt their teaching and learning practices, and mentored peers. Candidates are encouraged to include any professional development activities they engaged in order to better serve students and their colleagues during the pandemic.