The Tick Tock of the Tenure Clock
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Tenure is the focal career goal for any tenure-track assistant professors and the probationary period—the time between hire and mandatory review for tenure—is often rather short, usually 5-7 years. Any setback or challenge to productivity during that time could derail an otherwise promising career. In response to this problem, universities have developed tenure clock extension policies. Despite the increased implementation of flexible tenure clock policies, the effects of these policies on job outcomes and wellbeing are not yet understood. The present study examines the link between tenure clock extension status and multiple job attitudes including job satisfaction, burnout, turnover intentions as well as psychological well-being. The extent to which these relationships are influenced by the sex of the faculty member, whether the faculty member works in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) or nonSTEM department, and the faculty member’s perception of the family-supportiveness of their department are also examined. Survey data from faculty members revealed that faculty who extended the clock have less psychological well-being compared to those who did not extend, and that family-supportive organizational perceptions did not moderate this relationship. Further, women were found to have more negative job attitudes and psychological well-being compared to men regardless of tenure clock extension and STEM status, and STEM faculty reported higher turnover intentions than nonSTEM faculty. Implications for university policies and future tenure clock research are discussed.
Jean, Vanessa A. (2014). The Tick Tock of the Tenure Clock. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from