Sunday, August 3, 2014

Papers for Full Professor… 37/60

July has been focused on two classes, several writing projects, and paperwork to advance to full professor (plus as many afternoon hikes as I could arrange). I've called my bid for full professor the "last hoop" of my academic career.

If you're not familiar with academic rankings, most universities follow a similar hierarchy:

–Adjunct, a part-time instructor
–Clinical instructor, lecturer, research associate, or research professor (non-tenure track positions that are often fixed termed like 3 years in length)
–Assistant professor (tenure track, full time)
–Associate professor (with tenure)
–Full professor

I've held all of these posts, except "full," starting as an adjunct lecturer with at University of Maine at Farmington in 1986. I taught 3-4 courses per semester in the English department for 3 1/2 years. These jobs pay around $2000 per course with no benefits. Universities now hire many adjunct instructors to keep costs low.

Generally, it takes 6 years of work to move from assistant professor to associate. Beyond being hired for a tenure-track position, reaching associate professor with tenure is the big prize. If you're not familiar with tenure, check out this explanation online. Advancement to associate happens once you've conducted research studies and published, received reasonable teaching evaluations, and provided service to your department, college, university, and beyond.

During each of those 6 years, a professor puts together an overview of work accomplished and that collection is reviewed and written about by the peer committee, associate dean, and dean of the college. Next, the dean makes a recommendation to the provost (vice president of the university and chief academic officer) for rehiring (or not) and the provost  makes a recommendation to the president. Each year, an assistant professor receives a letter from the university president saying "upon the recommendation of the Provost…"

To advance from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure, the hoop gets bigger –or– perhaps I should say tighter! If you're doing poorly at year 4, the powers-that-be tell you and either give you a year to find a new job or provide you a mentor if they think you're worth salvaging. (No pressure, professor. No pressure.)

Selected books to be sent to my 3 external reviewers
with about 9 articles, a cover letter, and my CV 
To move on to full professor, a person needs to be a recognized expert in the field. At Research I universities like the University of Maine, UCLA, or University of Vermont, a professor must be well published and have a well-rounded CV. The first step in moving to "full" is to find three outside experts in your field to review and write about your academic materials. These external reviewers must be full professors or well qualified university administrators. I've spent a month organizing my cover letter, CV, and publications for the external reviewers. I also had to buy some of my own books to ship off to them. Education books are expensive even with a 40% author's discount.  

Th next step... the associate professor follows a standard protocol and presents papers to the college/department peer committee. Those papers go up the line to the president, and if she approves, the papers go to the Board of Trustees. (No pressure, professor.)

For me, this process is happening June 2014 through March 2015. Tuesday, my materials go to my external reviewers. In October, my papers go to the peer committee and start their journey through the university hierarchy.

I remember my first day at UMaine, September 2003. I was walking across campus and happened to see our college's associate dean, Anne Pooler. She had been a career academic after a stint as a high school social studies teacher. With her always present smile, Anne called out across the quad, "Good morning, professor!" The pressure was on.

1 comment:

  1. Rich, this is very clear and helpful. But, wow, the hoops... Thanks for explicating, as they say. And happy new year!