Inside Higher Ed
by Colleen Flaherty
January 27, 2022
Two years into the pandemic, Stanford University is offering junior faculty members another pretenure year or an additional quarter of research leave, plus childcare and research grants. Will other institutions follow suit?
Most institutions stopped junior faculty members’ tenure clocks for a semester or two when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., to account for research delays and increased caregiving demands at home. Far fewer institutions have adopted additional policies aimed at alleviating the continued burden on faculty members since then. That’s despite the personal and professional disruptions posed by new virus variants, the fact that professors with children under 5 still can’t get them vaccinated, ongoing uncertainty about international research travel and more.
Stanford University is among the few institutions to have offered formal support for professors beyond the initial tenure-clock stoppage: last winter, it made pretenure faculty members automatically eligible for a “post-pandemic” quarter devoted to research only (no teaching or service).
One year later, Stanford is offering junior faculty members an additional pretenure research leave quarter or an additional year on the tenure clock (for a total of two extra years). These professors are also eligible for financial help for childcare or other personal expenses, in the form of a taxable salary grant of up to $30,000, and small research grants of up to $10,000 or large research grants of up to $100,000.