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Pre-Tenure Pandemic Course Relief Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented impacts on pre-tenure faculty. Additional tenure clock extensions have provided faculty with more time but at the cost of delaying their promotion and tenure (P&T). As an investment in faculty scholarship, this program provides up to $5,000 in matching funds to pay for a one-course teaching relief.

The purpose of this program is to help mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on faculty advancement due to factors such as: an increase in the amount of time devoted to instruction; unexpected care obligations; delays in research, scholarly, creative, or extension opportunities; changes in the areas of research emphasis by federal agencies and other research sponsors; and damage to reputation building due to reduced professional opportunities (e.g., conferences, invitations to give a colloquium, domestic and international travel bans).

Program Description

The Provost’s Office will provide up to $5,000 in matching funds to the faculty member’s college or department for a one-course buyout to be used prior to their mandatory promotion and tenure year. We anticipate additional funds will be available in the future years to continue this program, so applications this year should be limited to only those who can use it to buy out of teaching in either 2022-23 or 2023-24.

Buyouts are expected to be used for faculty teaching relief in addition to standard teaching load and course release practices in the faculty member’s department/school and college.

Application Process

Applicants must be pre-tenure tenure track faculty members hired prior to academic year 2022-23.

Eligible faculty members should submit the application to the department head/chair or school director for their review and signature.

The department then forwards all proposals (approved and not approved) to the dean’s office for review and consideration.

The dean will review and sign all proposals before submitting them to Faculty Affairs for review and consideration.

Faculty Affairs will review all proposals and make a determination for funding. Notifications will be sent directly to the faculty member with copies to the department head and dean.

Proposal Considerations

Available funds are limited, and priority will be given to those faculty who demonstrate current or historical pandemic impacts to their ability to conduct research, scholarly, creative, or outreach activities and/or publish their results due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated that additional funds will be available in future years to continue this program, so applications this year should be limited to only those faculty who can use it to buy out of teaching in either 2022-23 or 2023-24. Considerations for funding include:

  • How close is the faculty member to their mandatory P&T year?
    Faculty closer to their mandatory year have greater need to mitigate pandemic impacts in time for P&T consideration. All other things being equal, faculty closer to their mandatory year will have higher priority compared to those with more time.
  • How urgent is the need to have the course release now versus later?
    Some types of scholarly and creative activities require more time to come to fruition than others. Faculty with scholarly and creative activities that require more time will have higher priority.
  • What is the scale of the impact of the pandemic on the faculty member’s research, scholarly, creative, and/or outreach activities?
    Faculty members’ professional development and progression were differentially impacted by the pandemic. Faculty who demonstrate greater pandemic impacts on their professional activities will have higher priority.
  • How will this buyout specifically benefit the faculty member’s progression towards P&T?
    The purpose of this program is help faculty who were/are negatively impacted by the pandemic prepare for promotion and tenure. Priority will be given to those faculty for whom a teaching buyout will provide demonstrable and achievable benefits to promotion and tenure preparedness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Participants must be pre-tenure tenure track faculty members who started at Virginia Tech prior to academic year 2022-23. Applications this year are limited to only those who can use it to buy out of teaching in spring and fall of 2023 or spring of 2024.

We expect to be able to fund about 50 faculty this year. We anticipate additional funds will be available in the future years to fund more faculty.

Priority will be given to those faculty who demonstrate substantial pandemic impacts on their ability to conduct research, scholarly, creative, or outreach activities in preparation for promotion and tenure (P&T). Considerations for funding include:  

  • How close the faculty member is to their mandatory P&T year and how urgent their need is to have the course release now versus later.
  • The scale of the impact of the pandemic on the faculty member’s scholarly activities and how the buyout will benefit the faculty member’s progression towards P&T.

We ask that all applications for funding be sent on to Faculty Affairs after review by both the department head and dean. This includes applications that are approved as well as those that are not. This will allow us to get a better sense of the scale of the demand for the program, as well as get some insight from department heads and deans about potential barriers to participation.

Assuming funding is available, there will be another call for applications next year and subsequent years. Faculty should apply in the year prior to the year in which they desire a buyout.

You should apply when the course release will best benefit your promotion and tenure preparations. We recommend coordinating the timing of the buyout with your department head, chair or school director as early as possible because they must also be able to fulfill the department’s teaching obligations.

We recommend coordinating with your department head, chair or school director to evaluate your preparedness. If you are on track and do not apply, that will help us direct resources to those faculty most in need.

Please consider reapplying in a future year.

Questions?

Email Rachel Gabriele, Assistant Provost for Faculty Initiatives and Policies

Application Process and Deadlines

October 15, 2022 to Faculty Affairs
for Spring 2023 course buyouts

January 31, 2023 to Faculty Affairs
for Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 course buyouts