F&M extends promotions to professors, including tenured positions

By Garrett Largoza, Contributing Writer ||

Recently, the College announced that nine faculty members received promotions, effective July 1. Of the nine professors, five moved to the rank of full professor, while four went from assistant to associate professor.

Peter Fields, professor of biology; Robert Jinks, professor of biology;  Stephen Medvic, professor of government; Nicholas Montemarano, professor of English; and Shawn O’Bryhim, professor of classics received positions as full professors, while Sylvia Alajaji, associate professor of music; Jaime Blair, associate professor of biology; Jana Iyengar, associate professor of computer science; and Kate Plass, associate professor of chemistry, became associate professors.

“I can’t think of anyone who didn’t deserve the promotions,” said Rob Jinks, newly-promoted professor of biology. “They are very active, very rigorous, and all of them are excellent teachers.”

To qualify for the title of professor, each candidate must work a minimum of six years as an associate professor. The newly-promoted professors now enjoy greater job security and academic freedom as a result of the promotion.

F&M determines tenure grants through a faculty member’s demonstration of his or her effectiveness as a teacher, achievement as a scholar, and merit toward the campus community. At the College, faculty members are considered through a series of reviews by both students and peers, as well as the Professional Standards Committee. Tenure is granted to a candidate based on a high degree of professional qualifications. According to the Committee, the following criteria must be met: teaching effectiveness, scholarship, and curriculum.

Teaching effectiveness is the ability to show excellence when engaging students in their studies. Students have a say in the faculty member’s performance. At the end of the semester or school year, students are asked to take a survey in which they are polled on their thoughts about their courses and instructors.

The College defines scholarship as the advancement of knowledge through research. The Committee concerns itself with the faculty member’s presentation of publications that have been reviewed by informed peers. Professors are expected to partake in presentations at conferences and review the works of other scholars.

Additionally, curriculum includes the enhancement and development of a course. At the College, departmental chairs review this area.

Although their promotions have only been in effect for a few months, the professors seem optimistic about the future.

“We all strive to perform at our best, especially at a liberal arts college like F&M,” Jinks said. “Tenure is only a landmark for faculty members.”

First-year Garrett Largoza is a contributing writer. His email is glargoza@fandm.edu.

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