Is the Clock Still Ticking? An Evaluation of the Consequences of Stopping the Tenure Clock
Using a longitudinal administrative data set from a large research university, the authors empirically evaluate the consequences of using stop the clock (STC) policies for the career success of tenure-track faculty. STC policies were introduced approximately 40 years ago, yet surprisingly little has been written about how they affect career outcomes. The prevalence of the ideal worker norm in academia raises the possibility of negative consequences as evaluators may treat policy use as a signal that the faculty member lacks sufficient commitment to his or her academic role. Consistent with this possibility, the authors find that faculty members who stop their clock for family reasons incur a salary penalty relative to faculty members who do not stop their clock, which cannot be explained by differences in productivity. Alternatively, faculty members who use the policy are not at a promotion disadvantage as compared with nonusers, and they actually have higher promotion rates.