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The UEC Tenure Track Program for Assistant Professors

Since FY2007, all assistant professors at UEC have been placed on fixed-term contracts, and many personnel have been recruited through an open recruitment process. Starting in FY2010, UEC adopted a new permanent employment system that couples its fixed-term assistant professor open recruitment hiring process with a tenure track program. By offering assistant professors the incentive of access to tenure status, this program aims to stimulate motivation of assistant professors for education and research, to improve their ability to engage in advanced education and research, and to contribute to the education and research environment offered at UEC. Candidates who pass a review conducted at the end of the tenure track program will be granted the status of tenured associate professor.
This program is an effort to expand the young researcher development system created as part of The Global Human Resource Development Program for Young Researchers in Frontier Science (hiring ended in FY2010), which was adopted as a program supported by the FY2007 Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

Program Description

Affiliation of Those Hired

At UEC, all professors belong to the Academic Institute and are assigned to a department in the faculty or a department in the graduate schools most relevant to their specialized field of study. The same is true of tenure track assistant professors and tenured professors.

The Mentoring System

Tenure track assistant professors fundamentally conduct research independently, but under this system, a mentor professor who has a wealth of experience and expertise is assigned to each of the assistant professors The mentor professor facilitates the assistant professor's progress, actively providing guidance and advice to help them achieve tenure and to contribute to their growth as an outstanding educator and researcher. To ensure the effectiveness of the guidance and advice they receive, tenure track assistant professors are asked to submit an annual self-evaluation report regarding their research and educational activities, along with their research outcomes.

Education and Research Environment

  • UEC provides research space and will support the establishment of an independent research lab.
  • In addition to covering the research expenses of assistant professors, UEC provides a special research grant of up to 2 million yen to those who apply and are approved for the UEC's Research and Education Activation Support System.
  • Tenure track assistant professors are entitled to supervise graduation research activities of undergraduate students. And for those who pass the qualification review for research supervisor in the graduate schools are also entitled to supervise graduate students.
  • They may be in charge of running classes in basic subjects, student labs, recitation classes, and other classes.

Tenure Track Period

The tenure track period refers to the period from the time an individual is hired as a tenure track assistant professor to the time that individual attains tenure status. At UEC, this period is five years.

Tenure Interim Evaluation

The tenure interim evaluation is conducted in the third year after hiring. The interim evaluation is conducted by the Tenure Interim Evaluation Committee, which includes prominent individuals from outside of UEC. The evaluation covers the candidate's research planning and direction at UEC, their progress achieved, and education and research performance. Feedback and advice is given to the candidate based on their evaluation results. If a tenure track candidate does not do well on their evaluation, the committee may conduct a broader investigation into alternative career paths that may be better suited to the candidate's skills, including potential transfers to other institutions.

Tenure Review

The tenure review is an examination of credentials conducted to determine whether a tenure candidate should be granted the status of tenured associate professor by UEC based on a rigorous evaluation of the candidate's education and research activities and performance at UEC. This review is conducted in the final (fifth) year of the tenure track period and is conducted by the Tenure Review Committee, which includes prominent individuals from outside of UEC. The review shall be based on whether the candidate's research activities are well regarded from an international perspective; whether the candidate's educational activities are deemed to constitute a high quality contribution to the education offered by UEC; and further, whether the candidate is suitably equipped to undergo the same level of personnel evaluation that they would be subject to if they were being hired as associate professors through the open recruitment process.

Safety Net for Those Who Do Not Attain Tenure

A candidate who does not pass the tenure review may be allowed to renew his/her employment contract for up to two years if his/her application to continue working at UEC beyond the end of the tenure track period due to preparations to move out, etc., is approved.