Four members of the faculty were recently promoted to associate professor, along with one faculty member promoted to full professor.
The faculty members that received promotion to associate professorship and tenure are Robert Gardner, education, Emma Qian Hao, business, Andrew Miller, political science and Jeffrey Stratford, biology.
The term “promotion” in a collegiate sense refers to the status of job titles. Being able to apply for a promotion depends on the contract one signs when offered the teaching job. Assistant professor is the lowest in the tier of professorship.
Wilkes has a probationary period of six years in which a professor is subject to evaluations and reviews. An assistant professor can apply for tenure and promotion to associate professor at the end of the probationary period. From associate professor one can be promoted to full professor.
The process for promotion or tenure is started by the dean sending an e-mail to the faculty member alerting them they could apply. Tenure is basically academic freedom; a protection for faculty whose research may be socially, politically, or scientifically controversial.
Teresa Wignot, interim provost, explains, “It gives the faculty member the freedom to pursue their scholarly materials, to present their course material and what they feel is important in their classes. So there is employment protection there when one is awarded tenure. That is a huge benefit called protection of tenure.”
The faculty member then has to compile materials for the application. The five main categories in priority level that are reviewed along with a ten page personal document in the profile are: teaching effectiveness, scholarship and other professional activities, student advising, university service and community service.
“Since Wilkes is a teaching school mostly, teaching has the highest priority along with scholarship and service,” said Murthy.
In the profile, the faculty member has to include student response survey summaries and forms for all the years of service at Wilkes. Student response surveys forms are collected from the students at the end of every class a professor teaches. Student enrollment in classes is another significant contribution.
After the professor submits the application materials to the Departmental Personal Committee, they will write a report. The department chair also writes a report of either recommendation for or against tenure. Both get sent to the appropriate dean. From there, the appropriate dean forwards his or her report, the department chair report, the application materials, and DPC report to the provost.
The provost has to write to the Tenure and Promotion Committee that he or she has all the reports and they are open for review by TAP members. TAP then forwards the provost reports made by them.
The provost has the job to send everything to the president of the university. The president transmits all the reports along with the president’s own recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
“Only the Board of Trustee has the power to grant promotion or tenure,” said Wignot.
Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Prahlad Murthy was promoted to full professor of environmental engineering
“It feels very good to be a full professor,” said Murthy. “Of course it was with the help of my colleagues, students and my family. Any comment, concern, acknowledgement or criticism went a long way. I just try to take in all that, and try to improve to do my job a little better; I just try to do my best.”