Hard Work Pays Off for Newly Tenured Faculty
October 26, 2004 4:22 PM
After years of hard work and dedication to students and their profession, 27 faculty members were granted tenure for the 2004-05 academic year. Most of those who were granted tenure were promoted from assistant to associate professor. Ten faculty members received a promotion from associate professor to full professor status.
These faculty members were honored in a special celebration at the University Club on Tuesday.
According to Academic Senate Policy #S88-120, tenure is the right of a faculty member to continue at SF State unless voluntarily terminated or terminated for cause, lack of funds, or lack of work.
Faculty members have their performances reviewed each year by a retention and tenure committee, the department chair, and the dean of the faculty member’s College. The dean then forwards a recommendation of retention, termination, terminal year appointment, or tenure to the provost.
Tenure is usually granted to faculty members after six years of teaching at SF State. Provost John Gemello forwards his recommendations to President Robert Corrigan for a final decision on the granting of tenure to a faculty member.
President Corrigan, in special circumstances, may also award tenure earlier than the normal six-year probationary period. This is what happened to elementary education professor Christy Lao.
“This is my fourth year teaching and getting an early tenure made things more intense and harder on me,” said Lao. “I had to document everything in order to show evidence that I was teaching well, doing research, and doing community service. Collecting all this data and assembling it for review is very time-consuming. It was stressful at times.”
As Lao alludes to, faculty members at the time of tenure review are evaluated on teaching effectiveness, research and publication, and community service.
According to #S88-120, in terms of teaching effectiveness a faculty member must maintain an adequate scholarly level in providing instruction; must show commitment to high academic standards; must be successful in instructing students in the relevant disciplinary skills and subject matter; must be able, as a teacher, to guide and stimulate students; must be effective in advising; and must be willing to confer with students.
Evidence of teaching effectiveness is obtained from both students and colleagues. To show how important end-of-semester teacher evaluations done by students are to faculty members, these evaluations are a big part of tenure review.
“Student evaluations make a big difference,” said Bruce Manning, a chemistry professor who was granted tenure this year. “I have tried to make the extra effort and work hard to prepare for classes, so my students know I am making my best effort to be a good teacher and that I am prepared.”
While tenure and promotions provide an inner sense of pride and achievement in Manning and many other faculty members, helping students become better educated is what he is here to do and what he enjoys most about teaching.
“It’s very satisfying to know that SF State has recognized what I’ve done, and it makes me want to continue to work on behalf of the students and faculty,” said Manning. “I love working in the chemistry labs and in my lecture classes with students, because I want to move through the stereotype that chemistry is something all students fear. I love to watch them learn.”
For Nini Yang, an international business professor who was granted tenure this year, there are some expanded aspects of teaching she must encompass now that she has been granted tenure.
“As a tenured faculty member I have to provide more expertise in advising and developing a strong curriculum,” said Yang. “I had a lot of documents that I had to put together in a short time to get tenure.”
Through all the stresses and hours of work these faculty members have put in to insure tenure and promotions, one thing remains constant according to Manning—SF State values quality teaching.
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