Non-traditional route to full-time professorship

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Feb 3, 2020.

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  1. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Thank you.

    So I'm going to take my place as the floating turd in the punch bowl with the next few sentences but I'm just stating the obvious that folks may not care to recognize due to their own biases. Certainly mine are on show so no fault to anyone.

    If someone is on staff and not hired for teaching or research, they're not generally tenure-eligible. Now I know nothing about this gentleman doctor, or his research, or the school. I'd just be more careful about throwing the "this proves... " flag.

    Now if someone shows me a person from a DL school that has something like "John Doe Endowed Chair of Basketweaving" at a good school as part of their signature line; I'd change my spots. That's a clear sign of tenure.
  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Why do they need to be an endowed chair when only few people achieve such status, including those who have gone to the most prestigious schools?

    Dr. Narketta Sparkman-Key is a tenured Associate Professor at Old Dominion University (Capella Grad).
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  3. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    To answer: They don't have to be an endowed chair but it cuts all the nonsense out of the discussion about whether or not someone has tenure when you see it. Especially online when people will see something and declare conversational victory without actually supporting their position well.

    Very cool, but you see that personal profile page where she actually has to write (tenure) after her title. That's unfortunate but I'm glad to see it. Sometimes schools differentiate tenure from non-tenured with the assistant/associate/full professor designations. I would have assumed that she got past her first three-year contract with the move to associate, but I would not have assumed tenure based on the associate designation alone.
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  4. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    My take, FWIW, is that people who spend incessant time looking up graduates of for-profit schools that hold faculty positions or tenure need to get a life.

    (Narketta Sparkman-Key was brought up, by Chris as I recall, a couple of years ago. Also as I recall, she had crappy reviews on, indicating that she does not focus on teaching.)

    All that said, there is the potential for a book on this kind of information: How to Defend Your mickey-mouse Degree From a For-Profit Joke of a School. After all, if you're naive enough to get your doctorate from a Capella or Argosy, you will indeed find yourself in the position of having to defend your credentials ove the years as you run into ball-busters like me.

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  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Whether she's a poor teacher does not take away from the fact that she's a tenured professor while some people are not... including some grumpy old men.

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  6. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Perfectly good opinion to have so long as you take into consideration that there are strata to deal with and it's always better to just be cool than ball-bust.

    Until people mature, which happens at different rates for different folks, a UMass Ph.D may ball bust on a Union Ph.D just as a Union Ph.D would ball bust on an Argosy Ph.D. Likewise the Harvard Ph.D may bust the UMass Ph.D. Some school reputations transcend the accreditation and for-profit, not for-profit discussions.

    However, in experience most call each other colleagues once you're at a conference and this sort of thing just doesn't come up. If I ran into a Capella grad giving a talk at a conference and the presentation was sound I don't know that I'd be ball busting based on diploma paper. The actual paper might get trashed, but that's the way the world works :) (I see a lot of Capella grads at InfoSec conferences. If I had one complaint to make about them its that most don't know how to wear a tailored suit.) :)
  7. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    In that one specific case it does not. You are right. I hope we see more coming but only after my son is out of college and on his own Ph.D track.

    However, until we start seeing more graduates from these schools moving into the traditional academic hiring processes instead of working as adjuncts or corporate roles you're not going to see more with tenure. (opinion is that the part-time aspect of these programs and need to make higher salaries while studying keeps folks from committing to the writing and conference schedules most likely to lead to tenure.)
  8. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This isn't some adjunct, it's the dean. The deanship being endowed has nothing to do with whether the dean has tenure. When deans are hired, they are typically also appointed as tenured professors. Deanships, however, are fixed terms and few of them stick around after since they often bounce off to different schools since they seldom made the move to just be the dean for a little while. You serve your time then you can bounce to be a dean at another school or move up through the ranks. Nobody is saying "this proves" anything other than "this never happens" is a false statement.

    As an aside, there are endowed non-tenured professorships as well.
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  9. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    So that we don't move the goalposts and take my argument out of context, the classic definition of tenure is that your post is permanent unless you do something unethical. Protections under a conventional three-year contract isn't the same thing regardless of what it's called.

    If you're in an endowed spot at a top school you're at the very least on a tenure-track. If you don't make tenure you lose the endowed spot and someone else who gets tenure will keep it eventually. More often for top positions, a person who already has tenure is hired away from a school with that endowed spot and that negotiation usually applies tenure at hire.

    So I'm being fair to you Neuhaus, I get that the only thing that is absolutely incorrect is arguing an absolute. Appreciate that. But the reason why the absolutes are inarguable is that there are a LOT of lousy schools. (with good people) :)
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I disagree with this because there is no evidence for it, and plenty of anecdotal evidence against it.

    First, most people never run into a critic like this. It just doesn't happen much.

    Second, most people have no idea about the school from which you took your doctorate. This is the basis of the diploma mill industry, sadly, but it applies to everyone. Unless you are in academia, almost no one cares--or even knows--where you earned your doctorate. And if you explained it to them, they wouldn't understand and it would only make it worse.

    I'd love to see the evidence supporting the notion that anyone would make a distinction between, say, Union and Walden because of their respective tax statuses. Show me that.

    If I mention that I did a PhD at Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, that's it. End of commentary on that matter. It's just accepted at face value. With my other doctorate, there is an additional step. I'll say I earned a doctorate at the University of Leicester in the UK. They'll say, "Oh, did you do it online?" I'll say, "No, I did it by research with some travel back and forth." End of discussion.

    Why? Because people don't care. Other than the University of Phoenix--with it's incredibly out-sized name recognition--no one knows your school and they care even less. This business of having to shy away from Capella or Walden or some other for-profit is just a bunch of nothing.

    One of my favorite books is Polarity Management by Barry Johnson. It is a fantastic treatment of polarities and their use in managing paradoxes. Coaches and leadership developers--two circles in which I travel professionally--use it a lot. It's quite popular. "Dr Johnson" is talked about all the time. No one mentions the fact that Barry received his PhD from International College, an unaccredited, state-authorized, defunct school in California. It just doesn't matter. No one knows and no one cares.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree with your comments. The name of the school seem to matter only when the person is aiming at a tenure track position at a prestigious school. The rule of thumb is that a school will hire a tenure track faculty member graduated from a school of more prestige than the hiring school. If I a graduate from Capella, I would expect to be hired at a school of similar or lower prestige (e.g. University of Phoenix). This is a general rule but there are exceptions to the rule.
    For a professional in private practice (let's say a psychologist or dentist), the license and reputation matter the most and the name of the school is almost irrelevant unless the school is a top ranked school.
    Most people do online doctorates because they have dreams and desires, some of them materialize these dreams and others might not but might take a different path that might make the experience worth it.

    Attacking people because they have dreams that might seem unrealistic is of no value. One can provide statistics and evaluate risk but at the end, it is dreams that make the world we living in.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    When I was at Leicester, the university had a rule that they would appoint advisors and external examiners from pre-1992 universities. Hard and fast rule, that. I doubt the university hired many people with doctorates from post-1992 universities, but I never checked.
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Let's see how long they can keep that up!
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Almost 30 years so far. Why would they not be able to?

    When the UK implemented the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, it created a slew of universities out of polytechnics. Simply put--and nothing in the UK is simple--the polytechnics prepared people to earn degrees awarded (and controlled) by the CNAA. The Act made these schools universities and permitted them to award their own degrees. (It also "universitized" many other tertiary institutions that were not polytechnics.)

    This didn't sit well with existing universities, and it created a huge bifurcation. Thus, your doctorate from Leicester can get you posted at De Montfort (right around the corner), but not the other way around. Perhaps this barrier will break down in the future, but there is no indication that this is afoot.
  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I misunderstood what I read at first. I thought they only appoint advisors/external examiners who graduated before 1992. After re-reading, I realized it's from universities established before 1992.

    I wonder how they would treat a university formed in the 2000s through the merger of two pre-1992 universities.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Like a pre-1992 uni, I would think.
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  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    You're missing my point here.

    Deanships are five year appointments. However, to be a Dean you need to be a tenured professor. So, when an outside Dean is hired, that Dean is also appointed to a tenured, full professor role. They hold the roles simultaneously. They do this with university presidents, as well.

    If I am the Joseph Neuhaus Dean of Business, that is a typically five year appointment. However, at the end of my term, I can stay on as a professor if I so choose. It rarely happens. After all, if I'm a professor at Harvard and leave to become a Dean at Yale, I'm probably focusing on higher positions or more prestigious programs rather than just settling back into professorial life at another school. The best example of something like that happening that I, personally, am aware of would be the short lived presidency of Jeffrey Lehman at Cornell University. He resigned rather abruptly but remained on faculty as a professor. To be clear, he wasn't a Cornell professor prior to becoming President. He was hired directly into that role from his role as a Dean at the University of Michigan Law School. However, along with his appointment as President he was also made a tenured professor. You cannot get tenure as a Dean. But all Deans are tenured as professors.

    You're not listening to what I'm saying...

    There are non-tenure track positions that have named endowments. Named endowments are just that. Someone very wealthy said "Here is a chunk of money. Invest it, and use the investment income to fund the position." That's it. It has nothing to do with tenure. If you endow an Assistant Professorship then that position is not tenured. Likewise, there are endowed lecturers who are also not tenured, not on tenure track and in no way in the running for tenure. It isn't a matter of "not making tenure" nor is it a matter of someone after you "eventually" getting it. The position itself is not tenure track. There are many of these, particularly at top institutions.

    Likewise, there are a number of directorships that are named which are appointments that typically go to tenured faculty but are separate appointments. You can be a Professor of Biology and be appointed as the Director of the Neuhaus Center for Sustainability. Those are separate appointments and you can lose one but not the other. The best example of this, again from recollection as I don't want to go googling around here, would be the former Athletic Director for Binghamton University who was fired amid a scandal with the basketball team. As said Athletic Director was also a tenured professor in, I think, the department of physical education, his "firing" meant he was no longer Athletic Director but he was still on the payroll as a professor and would remain so unless they moved to revoke his tenure.

    This has nothing to do with lousy schools. You're simply incorrect in some of your assertions. This is not a matter of opinion. A position being endowed does not mean it is tenure track, period. Here is an article on what the various titles mean...

    If there is a named Assistant Professorship then that position is not tenure track. The Joseph Neuhaus Visiting Assistant Professor of Internet Posting is not a tenured position. The Joseph Neuhaus Lecturer in Human Resources is likewise not tenure track even though one can hold that position, potentially, for their entire career.

    The decision to grant tenure is an academic decision, ordinarily vested in the provost. It has nothing to do with how the position is funded. Anything, even a non-academic staff position, can be endowed and named by a donor. This has no bearing on whether that position or its incumbent is tenure track. They are separate and unrelated things.
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  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    .[Reply to wrong post]
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    McNeese State*

    He was hired before earning his Ph.D. However, he earned his M.S. through nontraditional learning.

    Concordia University - St. Paul
    A bunch of faculty (Assistant and Associate Professors)

    St. Thomas University (Florida)

    Indiana Tech
  20. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

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