April 26, 2010

New rank recognizes Emory College lecturers

Biology's Arri Eisen is among the recently promoted faculty.

A new academic rank for lecture-track faculty in Emory College of Arts and Sciences — years in the making — aims to recognize faculty members who build new models of learning engagement, redefine the role of pedagogy at the University and contribute to the national conversation in their respective fields.

This fall, five faculty members will be appointed to the Professor of Practice, Professor of Pedagogy or Professor of Performance rank, underscoring the College’s commitment to recognizing excellence in teaching and service to the University.

The newly-promoted faculty are: Arri Eisen, director of the Emory College Program in Science and Society and a faculty member in the Department of Biology and the Graduate Institute for Liberal Arts; Vialla Hartfield-Mendez, director of Engaged Learning in the Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) and a faculty member in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Pat Marsteller, director of the Center for Science Education and a faculty member in the Department of Biology and the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology program; Anthony Martin, a faculty member and honors program coordinator in the Department of Environmental Studies; and Judy Raggi Moore, director of the Italian Studies program and a faculty member in the Department of French and Italian.

“This promotion is not a matter of course,” says Michael Elliott, senior associate dean of faculty and Winship Distinguished Professor of English. “We hope it signals both at the University and beyond that Emory recognizes the contributions of our most distinguished lecture-track faculty.”

All five appointees had campaigned for years for a third-tier rank for lecturers and senior lecturers as formal recognition of their professionalism.

Emory Law, Goizueta Business School and Candler School of Theology all use Professor of Practice designations, and peer institutions like Harvard and Duke universities have incorporated the rank into their liberal arts schools.

Following approval from the Emory Board of Trustees in 2007, the College administration worked to establish evaluation and appointment procedures for the new rank, patterned after the promotion process for tenure-track faculty. Currently, about one-fifth of College faculty members are lecture-track faculty.

Marsteller has advocated for the Professor of Practice title since 1994. Back then, she remembers, senior lecturers were hired for one-year appointments and were on edge until they received their spring renewal letters. The new rank comes with a seven-year term.

“There are people here who are not tenure-track faculty who contribute to the life and mind of the University in myriad ways,” she says. “I am excited and humbled to be in the first five.”

As director of the Hughes Undergraduate Science Initiative, Marsteller developed the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, which allows 90 undergraduate students to pursue research with a faculty mentor.

Eisen is a teaching coordinator for FIRST, a National Institutes of Health-supported postdoctoral fellowship program in research and teaching, and director of the Science, Ethics and Society Initiative of the Emory Center for Ethics.

Hartfield-Mendez, former director of the Emory Scholars Program, encourages faculty to connect academic coursework with community service in her new role at OUCP.

Martin is an internationally renowned paleontologist. Raggi Moore, faculty director of semester and summer study abroad opportunities in Italy, pioneered the Italian Virtual Class culture and second language-acquisition method.

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