IvyLee Rosario – News Writer –
This upcoming year at Southern there have been a total of nine professors receiving the promotion of tenure for their work with on- and off-campus organizations and their dedication to teaching.
According to Marianne Kennedy, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, choosing which professors will receive tenure is a long process.
“The process in which we go through takes quite a bit of time. We have a very specific criterion for candidates who apply and it comes down to either receiving the tenure position—or they have to leave,” said Kennedy.
Tenure is a concept most commonly found in higher education.
Professors at a university have to submit an application during their sixth year of teaching. Professors can also submit their applications earlier than that if they feel their resume is in good standing.
“I was encouraged by my colleagues to submit my file early, mostly because I had my book released this year,” said Professor Astrid Eich-Krohm of the Sociology department.
“I was obviously extremely happy and excited about receiving tenure because it takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders.”
Professors who are applying for tenure are evaluated on four different aspects in their career: their quality of teaching, creative activities, services—which include any committees or clubs they may be involved in—and professional attendance, which considers whether they stay current and up-to-date in their professional area, according to Kennedy.
“I felt my resume was good enough for me to go ahead and apply for tenure even though I didn’t have to yet because I am only in my fifth year,” said Professor Julia Irwin Harris of the Psychology department.
Among the nine professors receiving tenure are Astrid Eich-Krohm from Sociology; Chulguen Yang from Management; Derek Taylor from Communications; Louisa Foss and Margaret Generali from Counseling and Psychology; James Rauschenbach from Exercise Science; Jonathan O’Hara from Political Science; Jooyoun Hong from Mathematics; and Julia Irwin Harris from the Psychology department.
“As we went through this process,” said Kennedy, “we came up with nine professors that have proven themselves to be efficient and will help keep this university strong.”
According to Interim Provost Kennedy, the process starts with each department’s DEC (Departmental Evaluation Committee) and they first evaluate the candidate. Then that evaluation is sent to the department chair and they decide if they want to write a recommendation on that certain professor’s behalf. Once that part of the process is over, it is sent to the dean to review and then the Tenure Committee.
“Once we are at the end of that process, then the letters and files are sent to me for a review,” said Kennedy, “and finally I make the final decision and make the recommendations to President Papazian and the Board of Regents.
Once all final decisions are made, the professor that gets to receive tenure is guaranteed a job at the university for as long as they want to stay.
This is a process that takes up most of the year starting with submissions in October. Letters of recommendation are due usually in late January to early February and the final decisions from the Provost are made in April. The tenure process happens for different professors every year.
Any professor can apply for tenure earlier than their sixth year and there will be no penalty if they are rejected. However, if it is their sixth year and they are declined, they have to find work elsewhere.
“I love the work that I do and all the organizations I am a part of. I have my own lab at Yale in which I get to do research. In addition to that I am designing a new class for the Psychology department on the behavior of children,” said Irwin Harris, “which is now going to be offered as an undergraduate course as well. So with all these projects I am a part of, it feels good to have an accomplishment like tenure under my belt as well.”