The Lawrence board of trustees recently granted tenure to seven members of the faculty. The newly tenured professors include Associate Professor of Anthropology Mark Jenike, Associate Professor of Physics Megan Pickett, Assistant Professor of Education Robert Williams, and Assistant Professors in the Conservatory Andrew Mast, Julie McQuinn, Phillip Swan, and Mark Urness. Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows described the tenure process as an intermediate step in a process beginning with the initial recruitment of a professor and continuing throughout the duration of that faculty member’s career. Burrows said that the tenure process itself, however, is particularly important, as it ensures the enduring success of Lawrence through “bringing together strong students and excellent faculty.” Professors hired into tenuretrack positions undergo a reappointment review, headed by the tenure committee, in their third year of hire. Candidates then generally stand for tenure in their sixth year at Lawrence, though this may occur earlier if the faculty member holds previous experience. Pickett is one such example. Pickett has obtained tenure for a second time, having gone through the process for a previous position at Purdue University. Pickett achieved tenure one year after her reappointment. The tenure review at Lawrence takes into consideration three important criteria, including service, excellence in teaching and active scholarship or creative achievement. Although all three components hold significant weight for the candidate, the teaching aspect is crucial. Burrows finds the particular strength of teaching in both the ability to engage a student and in the “importance of learning useful skills for the future – to be ready for everything, for a future that does not yet exist.” The legacy of Lawrence as an institution of superior learning, according to Burrows, depends on what he calls the “teacher-scholar model,” in which teachers illustrate both “how to learn and be a life-long learner.” For this reason, the tenure review process emphasizes active scholarship and creative activity. Though Burrows said that the Lawrence tenure committee does not endorse the “publish or perish” trope in its standards for candidate evaluation, he insisted that “active involvement as a professional” includes publication of research and scholarship, or active performance in the case of Conservatory faculty. Burrows said these activities are “important to ensure intellectual and creative stimulation, to ensure being up-to-date and to model for students the processes of obtaining knowledge and creating what is new.” The final criterion is that of service, which includes service to the Lawrence community as well as to the professional community. Lawrence encourages professors to join committees early in their careers and to collaborate on projects with other faculty members, both within and outside of their home departments. Professional involvement outside of Lawrence is also important. For example, Pickett served on NASA committees and Swan will serve as guest conductor this week for the TAISM High School Choral Festival in Muscat, Oman. Once a candidate stands for tenure, the tenure committee considers four important pieces of information. Other faculty members observe the candidate’s classes, lectures and performances and write recommendations based on their experience with the candidate as fellow committee members, partners in research and in other collaborative roles. The tenure committee also collects “evidence of professional productivity,” which may include published papers, recordings of performances or compositions. The evidence is amassed into a packet that is reviewed by at least four external sources. These are experts in the specialized area of the candidate, and they represent both liberal arts colleges similar to Lawrence and larger universities and research institutions. The candidates themselves must submit a self-evaluation. Pickett described this personal statement as a “narrative” showing the “evolution” of one’s ownwork, informing the committee, “here’s what I’ve done, here’s what I’m doing, here’s what I’m planning to do in the next 10, 20 years.” Finally, an opinion survey is provided to students who have taken a class with the candidate. Burrows regrets that the return rate remains low on these student evaluations. According to Burrows, the students’ input is the “single most important” measure of a candidate’s teaching. These reviews from students who participated firsthand in a candidate’s classroom are taken very seriously and contribute significantly to the committee’s final decision.” The tenure committee is composed of five faculty members, one from each of the four major divisions – fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences – as well as a fifth, who may be from any department. However, no member of the committee may be from the same department as any of the candidates. The committee evaluates the candidate for his or her service, excellence in teaching and scholarship or creative activity. If all members of the committee commend all three of these areas, the candidate then is recommended to the president. The president makes the final recommendation, which the board of trustees must approve. To help with the tenure process, new professors are assisted by colleagues in their department, as well as by mentors outside of their department, mentors to whom they are assigned in their first year. Pickett referred to this mentor program as a sort of Freshman Studies for professors, initiating them into the community from the moment they arrive on campus. To those who have little experience with a liberal arts style, this mentorship proves especially beneficial, though mentoring is not confined to this program but is widespread throughout and between the departments. Mast said of his experience, “While intimidating and enormously time consuming, the process was fair, open and as transparent as something can be when the end result is something as important as tenure.” Pickett supported this view, saying that, though “you’ll still lose sleep over it, you’re going to worry about it,” the process “is not capricious,” and those faculty members on the committee as well as all the students, colleagues, professionals and anyone else who factors into the final decision, is contributing to the “legacy of Lawrence.