Greater flexibility to take the pandemic into consideration in adjusting the tenure clock has been approved by the Georgetown University Board of Directors, which also discussed planning efforts for the spring 2021 semester and welcomed its newest members.
The new rank and tenure policy gives the university’s executive vice presidents (EVPs) the discretion to extend the tenure probationary period when faculty members’ professional progress has been disrupted significantly for reasons beyond their control.
The revision provides greater flexibility for the EVPs to respond to impacts on faculty research created by the COVID-19 pandemic and other unexpected and uncontrollable future circumstances beyond the medical and family care currently covered in the Faculty Handbook.
The board, which met virtually Oct. 7-8, also discussed planning efforts for the spring 2021 semester.
President John J. DeGioia said in a recent message to the Georgetown community that the university’s initial plan will be shared by Nov. 16.
“Evolving public health conditions may require us to modify our approach for the safety of our community after this date, as occurred this summer in our preparations for the fall semester,” he explained in his Oct. 12 message.
DeGioia’s message also shared that a series of pilot programs created this fall is one of the factors that will inform whether the university will be able to add more students to campus and how a hybrid model of in-person and virtual instruction might work.
The pilot programs have included the return of a small number of residential students, bringing research faculty back to laboratories, holding small in-person, outdoor religious services, and planning for limited hybrid course activities for students at the Graduate School and Georgetown Law.
“Each one of these pilots upholds the aspects of our layered public health approach – mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand-washing, limited gathering sizes and frequent cleaning,” DeGioia said in the message.
The university also is reviewing a number of internal and external factors as it plans for the spring. The internal factors include understanding the key elements of the university’s capacity to manage the spread of the virus – the university’s testing capacity and test turnaround times, its ability to conduct contact tracing and provide care, isolation and quarantine, as well as how closely community members are adhering to Georgetown’s public health measures.
External factors include examining how many states are seeing increases in cases, how many new infections are recorded each day in those states and if resources for testing are readily available. The university also is closely monitoring the experiences of its peer institutions, with the understanding that each school’s approach reflects its individual context.
The board welcomed eight new members at the meeting:
Rosemary T. Berkery, a former vice chair of UBS Wealth Management Americas
Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, founder and CEO of RockCreek
Frank Ciatto (B’88, L’94), a corporate partner in the DC and New York offices of Venable LLP
Rev. Daniel Patrick L. Huang, S.J., professor in the Faculty of Missiology of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome
Sonny Kalsi (B’90), CEO of BentallGreenOak
Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, founder and CEO of Pace and former ambassador to the Republic of Finland
Tom W. Purcell (SFS’93), founder and CEO of Lake Trail Capital
Kevin Warren (B’84), chief marketing officer at UPS