Today in a faculty meeting, we discussed a document concerning policies, criteria, and procedures for tenure and promotion. I pointed out that the document referred in several places to 'senior full professors'. I wondered aloud how long it took to become a senior full professor and why the document specified that only senior full professors should play a major role in the evaluation and mentoring process. When I said this, I was sitting next to a senior full professor who hasn't had an active research program since 1912 or so, and I like to think that the juxtaposition lent a bit of dramatic emphasis to my point. The associate and assistant professors in the room all supported the deletion of the word 'senior', and the deed was done. Just this little change now makes a few women faculty eligible for a position of responsibility in the department. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but little victories are better than no victories.
In fact, the word 'full' was also deleted, as one of my colleagues pointed out that 'full' is not an official part of our title and that we are merely "Professors', unadorned by superfluous adjectives and unambiguously denoted by a capital P. I didn't feel as strongly about that part of the discussion.
More seriously, we are also discussing a proposal to put more teeth in our post-tenure review process.
[an aside: Does 'Score One' count as a sports analogy? Why do my thoughts so often turn to sports analogies after faculty meetings?..]
12 years ago