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Home Features Through the Ranks: How Professors Get Promoted

By Benjamin Gordon

Some professors have been serving at Concordia for many years. As they accumulate time at Concordia, they can gain ranks that reflect their knowledge and experience.

Dr. Brent Royuk, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says the basic system is relatively simple. A professor starts as an assistant professor. To be an assistant professor, an employee must have four years of experience in his or her field and be credentialed. After a set number of years, a professor can apply to be evaluated by a committee to gain the rank of associate professor and then professor. There are also graduate assistant and instructor levels, but those aren’t included in the promotion hierarchy.

The evaluation committee is made up of five people and chaired by the dean of the college that the faculty member teaches under. It also includes the department head from the professor’s academic area, two people also from the same department, and an external colleague from another department. The choice is made based off a portfolio assembled by the candidate, student evaluations, and some teaching sit-ins.

Professor evaluations for advancement are an important factor that students can play a part in. Professor evaluations for advancement are not only looked at by the teachers that are being evaluated and the evaluation board but also the president and provost of Concordia. Every course evaluation is compiled into a summary and examined by the evaluation committee.

“You’d be surprised how seriously we take those course evaluations…We’re always hoping for ways to improve, and that’s what the motivation is and then during…advancement in rank we pull them out and other people see them,” Royuk said.

Above the rank of professor is rank of department chair, which is an appointed role. The deans are above them, and each one oversees one of the three academic colleges on Concordia’s campus.  One of their responsibilities they hold is to ensure their college is compliant with accreditation standards. Another notable position is the Chief Academic Officer, who is effectively in charge of all educational decisions at Concordia and reports to the president.

As professors advance through the ranks, they tend to naturally gain responsibilities that they need to perform. Professors tend to gain more responsibilities the longer they have been at Concordia.

“As you (professors) become more experienced, you’re more likely to have things that you’ve done before and more things that you’re involved in, the more likely you are to be in leadership roles,” Royuk said. “We do have some criterion in our policy, but that really is the case though.”

Royuk said that as important as advancement in rank can be, another goal of professors is to spread the word of God.

“We want our professors to be experts,…but we also want them to love Jesus and to use their vocational knowledge in their secular calling to minister to the students,” Royuk said.

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