Sunday, January 31, 2016

Full Professor

In August 2014, I wrote about the work involved in becoming a "full professor" (Click here to read that post.) My bid in 2014 fell short because of procedural issues (i.e., I followed the application requirements of an out-dated form). Could this mistake have been remedied at the time? Yes, but things happen in big institutions. Enough said.

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On Friday, I receive a letter from President Susan Hunter of UMaine. It's one of a series of letters a candidate receives along the journey to full professor, associate professor with tenure, or assistant professor with a continuing contract (these letters come yearly). The first letter I received came from a Peer Committee of full professors in the college. On this level, the committee reviews a candidate's papers. My papers included the following: 

–7-page cover letter,
–16-page CV,
–65-page application packet--this application includes 3 external review letters from professors outside of the university who write about my career work, a chart that includes my teaching evaluations, and documentation of grants awarded, public service, publications, and other activities that document the tripartite mission of a professor (i.e., service, scholarship, and teaching).   
–Copies of most of my publications throughout my career. 

I've had to submit similar documentation throughout my 13-year career at UMaine, so pulling this work together isn't as massive as it sounds. I suppose the first time I did the application work during the summer of 2014, it took me about 30-40 hours. Then, following the new form, I worked another 30 hours. As my friends will attest, I'm a bit persnickety about my letters and paperwork, so I do a lot of revising... probably way too much. But that's me and at 62 years old, I'm not changing anytime soon.   

I don't mean to sound like I'm whining about this work. However, I do believe there are more economical ways to record this work like using the yearly reports we faculty member compose and submit electronically every single year. But, I'm not in charge and I follow the prescribed rules. 

Full Professor status allows a faculty member to have a lot of choice within the institution. We focus more deeply on our research agenda and feel more free to say "no" to certain tasks. I look at it this way: UMaine has invested a lot of money in me since 2003. I now have a national reputation as a leader in 2  distinct areas of literacy: high school writing centers and how writing helps athletes learn. I also have a certain prominence in the area of writing and the teaching of writing. Because of my place in the literacy world (I hope this doesn't sound too heady), at this stage in my career I should be able to follow my own ideas and focus in ways that will further promote what UMaine has supported me in achieving.    

The promotion, my final one in my academic life, will come with some kind of raise in salary. I also hope and plan to take a full-year sabbatical to kick off the final few years of my work at UMaine by studying, reading, and writing. 

Finally, of course, I've had fun thinking about what my mom and sister would have thought about this appointment. My grandfather, an adjunct professor of business at several Boston colleges, would have enjoyed knowing his grandson had finished up as a "full." 

That's it from 728 Prospect. Time to take William to the ski area.