Newman University professors receive promotion

Apr 26, 2018
Newman University

There are three levels of professorship, and ascending to the next level is no easy feat. Receiving a promotion can take years, along with providing proof of not only engaging teaching methods but also a display of scholarship and service.

Several professors recently received promotions, which confirms their dedication to enhancing the academic caliber of Newman.

The three positions of a professor are assistant, associate and full.

Professors begin in an assistant capacity — usually on the tenure track but not always — during a probationary period.

The timing of promotion from assistant to associate professor varies, but the time frame is usually more than five years. After the predetermined time has passed, the assistant professor can apply and be evaluated for promotion/and or tenure.

One of the professors who received a promotion, along with being granted tenure, Huachuan Wen, Ph.D., promoted to associate professor of education, said, “My colleagues both inside and outside my own department showed enthusiastic support to me in their recommendation letters, and my colleagues at the Faculty Evaluation Committee unanimously approved my application for promotion and tenure. All of these made me feel thrilled and humbled. I felt my hard work for our students and Newman community was recognized and rewarded.”

Tenure is usually associated with a permanent position. The professor who holds tenure has proven themselves to be a valuable asset to the university and is therefore rewarded with not only an essentially permanent position but also more leeway in the avenues they may pursue in their academic research.

Wen said, “Tenure is an academic honor to me and most college faculty. Personally, I feel it is a great encouragement for me to extend and expand my research, which will reciprocally better inform my teaching.”

Professor of Theology John McCormick, Ph.D., explained the process for the promotion of a professor at Newman University.

A professor must prepare a portfolio that shows evidence that they meet the criteria outlined in the faculty handbook. The criteria include “demonstrating academic performance in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, as well as the ability to communicate clearly and constructively how the faculty member has modeled the institutional mission.”

The portfolio includes course evaluations, a faculty professional activity inventory and self-evaluation form, faculty development plans, evaluation and recommendation letters from supervisors as well as additional letters of support from faculty, staff and students. All of the documentation is evaluated in light of the criteria for promotion.

McCormick noted, “Of course, the process really begins much earlier, when faculty dedicate themselves to quality teaching, service and scholarship and demonstrate that commitment over the course of time.”

Once the portfolio is prepared, it is then submitted to the Faculty Evaluation Committee, comprising faculty members who review and then submit it to the provost. The provost decides for or against promotion and then the Board of Trustees make the final decision.

Typically, promotions take effect in August of the following school year.

The following Newman University professors received promotions:

  • Jill Fort, Ph.D., promoted to full professor
  • Barry Koch, Ph.D., promoted to full professor
  • Barbara Sponsel, Ph.D., promoted to full professor
  • Ryan Huschka, Ph.D., promoted to associate professor and granted tenure
  • Huachuan Wen, Ph.D., promoted to associate professor and granted tenure
  • Margo Wagner, promoted from instructor to assistant professor