Updates from the CAP

1 March 2021

Dear Colleagues,

For close to a year now, the CAP has been considering how to respond to the profound and complicated ways that this pandemic has disrupted, and continues to disrupt, the teaching, research, and creative work of assistant professors. Members of the CAP have also discussed this issue at several chairs’ meetings, with the FSC and FCC, and with groups of pre-tenure faculty. We are grateful for the suggestions and perspectives that emerged in those conversations.

I write now to update you on three new steps the CAP is taking in response to these disruptions, which are now entering their second year.

Tenure Clocks

As you know, in response to disruptions caused by the pandemic, we offered assistant professors the option to delay by one year their reappointment or tenure decision and we asked assistant professors to document the effects of the pandemic on their teaching and research/creative work. In recognition of the pandemic’s ongoing disruption, the CAP will grant all current assistant professors the option to extend either their reappointments or tenure clocks by one additional year, in addition to the original extension option provided last year. If faculty choose to delay their reappointments, this would automatically delay the tenure clock, as well. An assistant professor who does not delay the reappointment decision will still be able to choose to delay the tenure decision.

If assistant professors decide to delay their reappointment decision, they should inform their unit or evaluation committee chair no later than May 1 of their second year in rank. Assistant professors who opt to delay their tenure decision should inform their unit or evaluation committee chair no later than January 15 of their fifth year in rank whether they intend to take a one or two-year extension. If they choose to extend by only one year, they can then choose to extend by an additional year by informing their chair no later than January 15 of their sixth year in rank. We will communicate directly with assistant professors who are currently in their sixth year and their chairs about their timeline for making this decision.

These extensions are in addition to any parental and maternity leave extensions that might also apply.

The CAP wants to emphasize that opting for this extension does not impose any additional expectations. Expectations for reappointment and/or tenure for those candidates who have extended their clock are the same as they would have been without an extension.

Faculty who delay their tenure decision will, at the time of their promotion to associate professor, receive the promotion raise plus a structural adjustment that will keep their salaries in line with their original cohort.

Assistant professors of athletics on three-year contracts, as well as lecturers on three-year contracts, will also have the option of this extension. These faculty may choose to delay their next reappointment or renewal decision by a total of two years or to continue on their current schedule. Faculty who want to take this option must inform the Director of Athletics or their unit chair by May 1 prior to the year of their reappointment/renewal decision.

Winter Study Teaching Releases

Current assistant professors are released from teaching Winter Study courses until they submit their tenure packet. We hope this additional non-teaching time will allow for more focused time on scholarship and creative work.  We will be in touch with chairs about additional adjunct faculty lines that will be available during this period.

Academic Research Grant

Research and creative work are central to expectations for promotion to associate professor at Williams, and the pandemic has disrupted this work in many ways. To help alleviate these multiple and sometimes invisible pressures, the CAP will grant a one-time $2,000 research stipend to all tenure-line assistant professors, intended to support their research and creative work. Each recipient will have complete discretion over the use of these funds which can be either received in the form of divisional research funding or as a salary stipend.

I know that this has been an extraordinarily difficult year and I am grateful for all that you have done and are doing. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Best wishes,
Safa, on behalf of the CAP