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Student Evaluations and Tenure Clock Extension
April 3, 2020


Dear Faculty,

COVID-19 has disrupted much of the normal operation of NIU, but I am proud of how NIU’s faculty have responded to the challenge. You have stepped up to support our students and to support each other. I write today to inform you of actions taken by the University Council Personnel Committee to support our early career faculty
and to establish guidelines for use of student evaluations this semester.

Student evaluations
The move away from face-to-face courses this semester will certainly affect student evaluations of courses during Spring 2020. We will still collect student course evaluations this semester to provide students with an outlet to give feedback and for faculty to receive that feedback. On March 31, UCPC  voted to allow faculty the option of not having those evaluations be used in any future evaluations, including annual, promotion, and tenure reviews. Faculty may opt to include those evaluations at their discretion. If a faculty member chooses not to include this data, then departments, schools and colleges will not use the lack of reported data to inform evaluations. Units are encouraged to discuss how to appropriately address this in personnel processes within their department and school meetings. I am greatly appreciative of the hard work our faculty have put in to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, and in no way should faculty be disadvantaged by having student course evaluations this semester negatively affect personnel processes.

Tenure Clock Extension
On March 31, 2020, the UCPC approved an automatic tenure clock extension of one year for all current probationary tenure-track faculty members.

Faculty members may choose to decline the tenure clock extension in order to be reviewed during the originally scheduled academic year. If they choose that option, they will notify their department or school chair in May of the calendar year in which they wish to be reviewed. The criteria used for tenure and promotion reviews will not be affected by this choice. Faculty may still request other extensions as allowed by NIU policy. A letter will be emailed to each affected faculty member, and a copy of the letter will be kept in their personnel files as documentation of this extension.

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility.

Sincerely,

Beth Ingram 
Executive Vice President and Provost 

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