Tenures, Promotions Recognize Loyola College’s
Four Loyola College assistant professors received promotions and were granted tenure this year, achievements recognizing their exceptional contributions to their disciplines, their college, and the University. In addition, one tenured faculty member, Peggy O’Neill, Ph.D., was promoted from associate professor to professor of writing, and Jeffrey Barnett, Psy.D., professor of psychology, received tenure.
“When Loyola alumni reflect on their education, graduates will often identify tenured faculty members who challenged and transformed their thinking, who spent significant out-of-class time explaining a mathematical equation or a poet’s verse, and who helped them grow to love the idea of learning,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. “To gain tenure at Loyola, faculty members must be deeply committed to the University and its values, excellent teachers, productive scholars, and individuals who make significant contributions to University service—for the greater institution, not just for themselves.”
Loyola seeks faculty who want to be part of this community of teachers and scholars, and the University selects, supports, and mentors new faculty well–more than 90 percent of faculty applying for tenure are granted it. “This percentage is a great return on this important investment as our academic success will be strengthened through the productivity of our tenure-track and tenured faculty,” says Snyder.
Tenure is one of the most widely misunderstood elements of academic life. Described most simply, tenure offers faculty members continued employment until retirement. Tenure-track faculty can apply for tenure after their fifth year at Loyola; prior to receiving tenure (and at any time for faculty not on the tenure track), a faculty member’s appointment can be terminated or not renewed at the end of any academic year. Typically, tenure-track faculty are hired as assistant professors and are subsequently promoted to associate professor and later professor, but some are hired at a higher rank based on achievements at previous institutions.
But tenure signifies a great deal more than mere job security.
“Academics are by nature creative people who simply love learning,” says Snyder. “They have a real zeal, a yearning to explore their creativity. Tenure affords faculty the opportunity to explore their ideas and to create new knowledge, and, at Loyola, to inspire our students to explore and to be creative as well. Tenure also supports the notion of academic freedom. Humankind's greatest ideas typically go against the grain, and if we have a faculty member who wants to explore an idea that seems unconventional—which is a feature of most of the best ideas—we want him or her to be able to explore that idea fully without worrying about losing their job.”
Snyder also points out that tenure offers an alternative type of compensation for bright and talented people who forego the potential wealth of corporate life to teach and advance scholarship. “You can begin a great career on Wall Street at age 22, while it takes at least four years and often as many as eight or more to get a Ph.D. That’s a lot of years of money they could have been putting in the bank. But if you want to attract a student of foreign languages to become a professor instead of becoming a translator for the State Department, an economist to come to Loyola instead of an investment bank, or a bright scientist to physics instead of medicine, tenure becomes important.”
Tenure also commits faculty to Loyola. "Our success demands knowledge of and facility with our University mission and Jesuit heritage," Snyder says. “Our tenured faculty carry on and continue to transform St. Ignatius's vision toward the greater good."
The process for attaining tenure—or for promotion—goes well beyond merely working for the University for a prescribed period of time. Applicants compile extensive dossiers capturing their teaching evaluations, their publications of books and chapters or in peer-reviewed journals, and their service to University committees. The materials are reviewed by every tenured member of the faculty members’ departments, as well as their deans and the vice president for academic affairs—each of whom must be able to make a case in support of tenure—before being forwarded to a seven-member board on rank and tenure which evaluates the application and makes a recommendation to the president, who issues the final decision.
Congratulations to this year’s promoted and tenured faculty members in Loyola College.